|Staff Reporter |||Apr 23, 2020 04:59 PM EDT|
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The World Health Organization, through its spokeswoman Fadela Chaib, maintained that the novel coronavirus came from animals in China as suggested by all data it reviewed regarding the matter. It was not "manipulated" neither was produced in a laboratory as floated by swirling conspiracy theories at present.
Chaib was speaking during a press briefing in Geneva. What is not yet clear at this point is how the virus jumped from animals to humans. But as to whether the host was an animal, it is almost certain.
"It most likely has its ecological reservoir in bats but how the virus came from bats to humans is still to be seen and discovered," she emphasized.
Chaib, however, refused to comment on the question of whether there is a possibility that the virus accidentally escaped from a laboratory.
At the center of this undying conspiracy theory on the origin of the novel coronavirus detected in 2019 are two scientific laboratories in Wuhan. Many scientists are experimenting on viruses inside the state-run Wuhan Institute of Virology and the Wuhan Center For Disease Control. These two labs are just within 10 miles of the animal market where the coronavirus causing COVID-19 was first detected.
The Wuhan Institute of Virology has long dismissed the issue as far back as February. It has negated time and again that the virus was artificially made or intentionally leaked from the facility.
The said lab was launched in 2017 as part of China's plan to build between five to seven biosafety level-4 (BSL-4) across the mainland by 2025. The country said the lab is comparable to other best known around the world.
Outsiders, however, floated some concerns at the time, saying the country may lack protocol to contain viruses it studies within the lab. Such concern was rooted in instances in the past years when the SARS virus escaped from high-level facilities in Beijing. One authority floating this concern was Richard Ebright, a molecular biologist at Rutgers University in Piscataway, New Jersey.
To be clear, the same concerns are thrown at laboratories of BSL-4-lab built across the United States and Europe in the past 15 years. There are also questions about why these regions need a lot of such facilities.
Meanwhile, no matter how authorities dismissed conspiracy theories on whether the novel coronavirus was manipulated inside a lab, they won't die down. This is because controversial public figures have been riding on this hoax.
US President Donald Trump has always called the novel coronavirus as the Chinese virus. In one interview, Trump likely lean to the rumor that China made the novel coronavirus to demonstrate to the world its capacity to combat viruses.
On Sunday, UK's equally controversial publication, The Daily Mail, reported that officials of Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government no longer discount the possibility that the virus was leaked from a lab.
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