COVID-19 not manipulated or constructed: WHO

Geneva: All available evidence to date suggests that the novel coronavirus has 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 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”, reports Xinhua news agency.

The novel coronavirus was identified in early January and its genetic sequence shared publicly on January 11-12, the WHO noted.

According to the world health body, 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.

AS of Friday morning, the global number of coronavirus cases stood at 2,708,470, with 190,788 deaths.