The World Health Organization (WHO) has finally released a plan for its investigation into the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic. At first glance, the plan – which will first look at information from Wuhan – covers most avenues of inquiry, but there are lingering doubts about whether it can uncover any new clues. The investigation will consist of two elements: how the disease spread among humans; and the animals sold in the Huanan market in Wuhan as well as their origins. The plan says scientists will check the hospital records of pneumonia patients before December and test stored samples. They will also review respiratory disease trends, interview the first known patients and examine the cause of death in patients who died from similar symptoms before December. However, most of the investigation will be carried out by Chinese scientists, and the international specialists will probably be presented with their findings rather than being given direct access to medical records or raw data from the national reporting system and contact tracing database. That means the information given to the WHO team will probably be more or less what the authorities in Beijing have already released. 65 coronavirus cases at WHO headquarters in Geneva, internal email reveals Compared with the epidemiologists, scientists from the World Organisation for Animal Health and the Food and Agriculture Organisation are likely to find the investigations a bit more rewarding. The Chinese authorities will not want to be seen as withholding information and should be comfortable about providing details about less politically sensitive topics such as the animal and human sewage samples collected from the market and its supply chains. What China wants most is similar studies in other countries because it hopes to prove that the coronavirus came from somewhere else. That is not impossible. A recent study by Italian scientists found Covid-19 antibodies in blood samples collected in September , but it is not conclusive evidence and we don’t know if the strain is the same. WHO-backed probes move forward to shed light on early days of virus Virtual meetings between Chinese and international experts have already started. But unless China and the WHO can convince other countries that the mission has been given full access to the data China has it will be difficult to take the heat off them – the former having been blamed by Western politicians and the media for the initial cover-up and the latter for being too weak towards Beijing.