BEIJING — All available evidence to date suggested that the novel coronavirus, which had caused the ongoing pandemic, had a natural animal origin and was not a manipulated or constructed virus, the World Health Organization (WHO) said.
“Many researchers have been able to look at the genomic features of [the] SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2) and have found that evidence does not support that SARS-CoV-2 is a laboratory construct,” said the global health watchdog, stressing that if it were a constructed virus, its genomic sequence would show a mix of known elements, but “this is not the case.”
The novel coronavirus was identified in early January this year and its genetic sequence was shared publicly on January 11 to 12, the WHO noted.
According to the United Nations specialized agency, the full genetic sequence of the coronavirus from the early human cases and the sequences of many other viruses isolated from human cases from China and all over the world showed that the virus had an ecological origin in bat populations.
Although the intermediate animal host had not been identified, the WHO noted, all available evidence indicated the novel coronavirus had a zoonotic source.
To better understand the source of the outbreak in China, a number of investigations are currently underway or planned. (Xinhua News)