We need to talk about the ToRs

Introduction

1. The ToRs and their limitations

https://www.who.int/publications/m/item/who-convened-global-study-of-the-origins-of-sars-cov-2
Very first paragraphs of the ToRs
Annotated ToRs

A spokesperson at the Department of Health and Human Services said the U.S. government sent the WHO three names — from the CDC, the National Institutes of Health and the FDA — but none were contacted by the WHO. “If there is an American included on the origins panel, it is not one of the 3 [U.S. government] recommendations,” the spokesperson said.
Source: Politico

The WHO on Aug. 17 appealed for experts to join the international team. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services sent names of three candidates to the WHO through the State Department. They included a virologist who is an expert on viruses that require study in high-security laboratories; a senior veterinarian; and a medical epidemiologist leading a program in global health security.
WHO staffers reviewed about 40 résumés, the agency’s Mr. Jasarevic said. None of the experts Washington recommended received a call, said U.S. officials.
“These candidates’ CVs were included in the pool of CVs evaluated,” said Mr. Jasarevic. “Unfortunately, we could not take all in the team.”
Source: WSJ

WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said China didn’t weigh in on the agency’s selection of team members or object to any who had been chosen.
Source: WSJ

Annotated ToRs

2. The ToRs as Step 1 of a required Global study

Extract from the very first page of the ToRs
ToRS — page 8

3. Secret negotiations and their implications

[ — ] Mr. Trump announced the U.S. would leave the WHO. Yet American officials still wanted to help shape the inquiry and had an avenue: The U.S. had a seat on the U.N. organization’s governing executive board until 2021. But the board, which includes representatives from 34 governments, wasn’t brought in to consult on negotiating the terms of research.

Instead, the WHO hashed out those details directly with China. U.S. officials had urged the WHO to consult with the board, due to the human and economic toll of the pandemic, a U.S. official said. “It was a unique scenario,” the official said. “The normal way of doing business was not appropriate.”
Source: WSJ

“The team also visited several laboratories in Wuhan and considered the possibility that the virus entered the human population as a result of a laboratory incident.

However, I do not believe that this assessment was extensive enough. Further data and studies will be needed to reach more robust conclusions.

Although the team has concluded that a laboratory leak is the least likely hypothesis, this requires further investigation, potentially with additional missions involving specialist experts, which I am ready to deploy.”
Source: WHO

“Following extensive discussions with and presentation from Chinese counterparts, it appears that little had been done in terms of epidemiological investigations around Wuhan since January 2020. The data presented orally gave a few more details than what was presented at the emergency committee meetings in January 2020. No PowerPoint presentations were made and no documents were shared,” the report said.
Source: The Guardian

4. Timing issues with the ToRs

https://www.who.int/news/item/30-03-2021-who-calls-for-further-studies-data-on-origin-of-sars-cov-2-virus-reiterates-that-all-hypotheses-remain-open
https://www.who.int/publications/m/item/who-convened-global-study-of-the-origins-of-sars-cov-2
Main ToRs dates

5. Questions:

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store