The World Health Organization (WHO) said that all available evidence suggests that the novel coronavirus originated in bats in China late last year and it was not manipulated or constructed in a lab.
US President Donald Trump said last week that his government was trying to determine whether the coronavirus emanated from a lab in Wuhan, in central China.
“All available evidence suggests the virus has an animal origin and is not manipulated or constructed virus in a lab or somewhere else,” WHO spokeswoman Fadela Chaib told a Geneva news briefing. “It is probable, likely that the virus is of animal origin.”
Current and former U.S. intelligence officials told NBC News last week that the country’s intelligence community was examining whether the coronavirus emerged accidentally from a Chinese lab studying diseases in bats. The lab in question has denied the accusation, calling it a “conspiracy theory.”
The coronavirus has now infected almost 2.5 million people and caused over 170,000 deaths around the world, according to data collated by Johns Hopkins University.