The customization this time is wider than the last time. “We’re not just going to focus on the coronavirus,” Koopmans told RTL Nieuws. “We are forming an advisory group to advise the World Health Organization on what will happen if there is a new outbreak of an infectious disease.”
Usually, these checks are done on a disease-by-disease basis. But we want to look at the standard questions that apply to each infectious disease. For example: Can we ensure that there are clear instructions that can be applied to all outbreaks? You can then also use these instructions during an Ebola outbreak.
At the beginning of this year, Koopmans was part of another WHO team that investigated the origins of the coronavirus. Before that, they went to the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the first major outbreak was.
After this research, many questions remained, for example about whether researchers could work freely. In the end, no definitive conclusion was reached about the origin of the coronavirus, but four possible hypotheses emerged.
The most likely scenario is that the coronavirus passed from a bat to another animal, and then spread to humans. The least plausible scenario, Koopmans says, is that the virus originated in a lab.”
She will look again with her new colleagues at the questions that remained after the previous research. “More studies have since been added. We will see if we can gain new insights as a result.”
The team expects the investigation to begin in about a month. It is not yet known if they will travel to China again.
More and more virus outbreaks
According to a virologist, it is very important to know the source of the virus. “Because we can learn a lot from that, about how these kinds of outbreaks come about. We can benefit a lot from that in the future.”
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