An Australian member of an international team travelling to Wuhan to investigate the origins of coronavirus wants to shine a light on how the pandemic began.
Sydney virologist Dominic Dwyer is among 10 experts from the World Health Organisation flying into China on Thursday.
Professor Dwyer admits they are unlikely to track down patient zero but is hoping to find some answers.
He wants to establish whether the virus truly started in Wuhan or began somewhere else and was amplified in the Chinese city.
He also wants to know whether it came from an animal source and if so which one, as well as what role laboratories played.
After completing two weeks of quarantine on arrival, Prof Dwyer is hoping to visit the wholesale seafood and animal market linked to an early cluster of patients.
He is also keen to visit Wuhan’s institute of virology and hospitals that treated the first coronavirus patients.
“The Chinese authorities have told WHO that they’re happy for people to go where they feel they need to go,” Prof Dwyer told ABC radio.
The trip comes more than a year after the global pandemic began and eight months since China agreed to let the WHO team into the country.
The WHO investigation is being jointly conducted with the Chinese government and Prof Dwyer is keen to avoid the politics.
“There clearly is political pressure and concern, both within China and outside of China,” he said.
The Chinese government is keen to portray the coronavirus as starting elsewhere and wants the WHO to conduct research missions in other countries.