On Tuesday, WHO spokesman Fadela Chaib said all evidence showed the virus was “not manipulated or constructed in a laboratory or other place.”
“It is possible, very likely, that the virus originated from animals,” he said at a WHO press conference in Geneva, Switzerland.
The process of transmitting the Covid-19 virus from animals to humans is unclear, he added.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said the evidence indicates that the corona virus came from animals, and dismissed reports that said the virus was created in a virus research laboratory in Wuhan, China.
A scientist conducts a corona virus test in a laboratory in Greece. (EPA)
“Most likely he breed in bats but how the virus is transmitted from bats to humans is not yet known,” he said.
Shortly after the issue of the corona virus surfaced, various speculations emerged – most of which were unfounded – about their origin.
One theory that had become viral in cyberspace said that SARS CoV-2 was created in the laboratory as a biological weapon. This allegation has been repeatedly denied by scientists, who emphasize that various studies show the virus originated in animals – most likely from bats.
But research on the corona virus genome in the US, published in March, found no sign that the virus was engineered.
Another theory blames the virus naturally, but accidentally separated from the laboratory.
The proximity of the Wuhan seafood market, where the outbreak was first detected, with at least two institutions conducting research on communicable diseases led to speculation about the link.
That the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) had indeed conducted research on the corona virus in bats. The research is valid and published in international scientific journals.
Given China’s experience with the Sars outbreak in the early 2000s, this is not surprising.
Biosafety expert at King’s College London, Dr. Filippa Lentzos, said the question of the origin of the new corona virus was “a very difficult question”.
He added that “there was a tacit discussion, behind the scenes, in the community of biological safety experts, questioning the origin of the seafood market that had emerged so strongly from China.”
But until now there has been no evidence that any research institute in Wuhan is a source of Sars-Cov-2.