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WHO says novel coronavirus not manipulated or constructed

If the SARS-CoV-2 were a constructed virus, its genomic sequence would show a mix of known elements, but "this is not the case," according to the WHO.

Xinhua | Updated on: Friday, April 24, 2020, 05:50 PM IST

A staff member conducts sample testing for COVID-19 at a laboratory in Moscow, Russia, on April 16, 2020. | Sputnik via Xinhua
A staff member conducts sample testing for COVID-19 at a laboratory in Moscow, Russia, on April 16, 2020. | Sputnik via Xinhua
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GENEVA-- All available evidence to date suggests that the novel coronavirus, which has caused the ongoing pandemic, has a natural animal origin and is not a manipulated or constructed virus, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a daily situation report on Thursday.

"Many researchers have been able to look at the genomic features of SARS-CoV-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, also known as SARS-CoV-2, was identified in early January and its genetic sequence shared publicly on Jan. 11-12, the WHO noted.

According to the United Nations specialized agency, the full genetic sequence of the novel 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 novel coronavirus has an ecological origin in bat populations.

Although the intermediate animal host has not been identified, the WHO said, all available evidence indicated the novel coronavirus has a zoonotic source.

To better understand the source of the outbreak in China, a number of investigations are currently underway or planned.

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Published on: Friday, April 24, 2020, 05:50 PM IST