World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday that the “groundwork has been laid” in China to investigate the animal origins of the coronavirus, AFP reported.

“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,” Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. “Epidemiological studies will begin in Wuhan to identify the potential source of infection of the early cases.” Wuhan was the original epicentre of the outbreak.

Adhanom Ghebreyesus added that there may be no “silver bullet” to kill the coronavirus, though many vaccines are in the final stage of trials – meaning that the contagion will continue to exist for a long time. He said everybody hopes there will be an effective vaccine to help prevent infection.

The WHO director general also said that the number of coronavirus cases globally has increased more than five-fold and the number of deaths has more than tripled to over 6,80,000 since the organisation’s emergency committee meeting on Covid-19 three months ago.

Over 1.81 crore people have been affected by Covid-19 globally so far, according to the Johns Hopkins University. More than 6.89 lakh people have died, while 1.07 crore have recovered.