Hundreds of thousands of blood center samples from the Chinese city of Wuhan are being prepared for testing as part of an investigation into the origins of the Covid-19 virus, as per a Chinese official who spoke on condition of anonymity. The decision comes amid growing demands for more openness in the investigation into the virus’s development.

The WHO’s panel of investigators identified the collection of up to 200,000 specimens, including those of the final months of 2019, as a potential source of critical information that could aid in determining where and when the virus first entered humans in February of this year.

Thousands More Wuhan Blood Samples Will Be Tested In Covid-19 Investigation

They will provide real-time samples from a broad swath of the population inside the Chinese city wherein SARS-CoV-2 is believed to have infected people for the first time.

Chinese authorities have said that the blood bank specimens would be kept for a period of two years in case they are required as documentation in any litigation arising from the blood donations from which they were obtained.

Thousands More Wuhan Blood Samples Will Be Tested In Covid-19 Investigation

The two-year waiting period will shortly come to an end for the crucial months of October and November of 2019, while most scientists believe the virus may have infected people for the very first time.

According to a representative from China’s Public Healthcare Commission, preparations for the testing are already ongoing, who also confirmed that testing would take place after the two-year limit had been reached.

‘This offers the closest real-time samples we’ve seen elsewhere in the globe, which will assist us in determining how and when the epidemic occurred,’ said Yanzhong Huang, senior researcher for global health there at Council on Foreign Relations.

According to Maureen Miller, the samples will “certainly” include essential information, an associate professor of medicine at Columbia University.

The ambassador asked China to allow international specialists to monitor the procedure. “It is impossible for anybody to trust any findings that China provides unless there are trained observers at the absolute least,” she said.

Earlier this year, Liang Wannian, the leader of a Chinese team that works on an investigation for the World Health Organization (WHO), stated that China would conduct tests on the samples and that once the Chinese analysts “have the results, those who will deliver people to both the Chinese and international expert teams.”

Liang explained that the samples were taken from the opening tube of the donor blood pouch, which was then sealed shut and stored, and that Chinese experts had “made a few assessments on the test methods and action plan, that will be implemented after the expiration” of the two-year limit on the use of donated blood.

According to specialists, if the samples are kept properly, they may retain important markers of the initial antibodies produced by people against the illness. Liang said in July that the first recorded case occurred in Wuhan on December 8 and that the number of cases has since increased.

“Our study, as well as earlier relevant research articles published by Chinese experts, strongly suggests this. The date of December 8 is most likely not the main instance. There may have been more incidents in the past.”