The World Health Organization (WHO) during a virtual press conference on Monday said a preliminary investigation into the animal origins of the COVID-19 outbreak in China has concluded. The UN health agency had been pressing China in early May to allow its health experts into the country to conduct a probe into the animal origins of the coronavirus pandemic. 

An epidemiologist and an animal health specialist were then sent to Beijing on July 10 to lay the foundation for an investigation for the purpose of the identification of how the virus transmitted to humans. WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the scoping mission has now been completed. He stated, "The WHO advance team that travelled to China has now concluded their mission to lay the groundwork for further joint efforts to identify the virus origins,". 

Tedros also said, "WHO and Chinese experts have drafted the terms of reference for the studies and programme of work for an international team, led by WHO." He added, "The international team will include leading scientists and researchers from China and around the world. Epidemiological studies will begin in Wuhan to identify the potential source of infection of the early cases,". He asserted saying, "Evidence and hypotheses generated through this work will lay the ground for further, longer-term studies,". It is to be noted the pair are yet to return for a debriefing at the WHO's Geneva headquarters. 

According to scientists, the killer virus is said to have jumped its way into humans from animals, and possibly from a market in Wuhan city, in China, selling exotic animals for meat. Although no further official confirmation has been made to date by Chinese officials, the theory out there at present is that the virus may have spread early in the outbreak from a market in the city, where live and wild animals were being sold. 

The WHO also went on to issue a warning regarding the cure for coronavirus saying there might never be a "silver bullet" for the fatal disease, despite the rush for effective vaccines. The Geneva-based agency further made an appeal to governments and citizens to adhere to the basics in the meantime, such as testing, contact tracing, maintaining physical distance and wearing a mask as means to contain the spread of the infection, which has brought normal life around the globe to a complete standstill, while also triggering massive economic losses. 

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, "We all hope to have a number of effective vaccines that can help prevent people from infection," He urged, "However, there’s no silver bullet at the moment - and there might never be. For now, stopping outbreaks comes down to the basics of public health and disease control. Do it all,".

As per the data compiled by international news agency AFP, the novel coronavirus has claimed nearly 690,000 lives while infecting at least 18.1 million people world over since its outbreak in Wuhan in China last December.