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Experts have also voiced concerns about the WHO's independence in the matters, saying that some WHO experts and researchers were under enormous pressure or even intimidated by the United States after they voiced support for the conclusions of the China-WHO joint study on COVID-19 origins in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

BEIJING, Aug. 2 (Xinhua) -- Political leaders and experts worldwide have strongly opposed politicizing the COVID-19 origin tracing issue, saying that such a trend would deal a heavy blow to the global anti-pandemic efforts.

"Research into the origins of the virus is important from a scientific and global health policy perspective, and it should not be used as a smoke-screen for geopolitical contestation that has nothing to do with ending the pandemic or understanding how to prevent future pandemics," said Lindiwe Zulu, a senior foreign relations official of South Africa's governing party African National Congress, on Friday.

COVID-19 has killed many people and resulted in vaccine nationalism by high-income countries, Zulu said, urging countries to rebuild solidarity "as this is the only way to effectively combat the spread and destruction of the virus."

"The one consistent thing we've heard from all countries has been 'let's not politicize the science,' and the next thing that happens is the science is politicized," Mike Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization (WHO) Health Emergencies Program, was quoted Friday by Sputnik as saying.

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"So what we want to do for all parties, and everybody is calling for this, there's widespread agreement amongst all our member states, let's not politicize the process," he added.

As the world struggles to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, the blame game linking the virus to China has resurfaced, Sweba Unuki, a social affairs analyst in Dar es Salaam, said in a recent article published by The Citizen newspaper.

Framing the virus as a lab creation originating from China impedes global efforts to end the suffering, the columnist said.

Experts have also voiced concerns about the WHO's independence in the matters, saying that some WHO experts and researchers were under enormous pressure or even intimidated by the United States after they voiced support for the conclusions of the China-WHO joint study on COVID-19 origins in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

They said the United States was seeking to discredit the qualifications of the scientists involved in the study.

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