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  • Laboratory workers at the Veterinary Specialist Institute, Nis, Serbia, April 7, 2020.

    Laboratory workers at the Veterinary Specialist Institute, Nis, Serbia, April 7, 2020. | Photo: EFE

Published 21 April 2020

The UN agency insists that "we must focus on facts'' and not on conspiracy theories.

The World Health Organization (WHO) Tuesday denied that the coronavirus was created in a laboratory and clarified that the pathogen originated in animals.

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"All the evidence we have suggests that the virus was of animal origin and did not undergo genetic manipulation," the WHO spokeswoman Fadela Chaib said.

"Many researchers have analyzed the genetic characteristics of the virus and have found no indications supporting the idea that it was built in a laboratory... Every day we are not only fighting the pandemic but also the infodemic," she added.

The WHO clarified that the natural reservoir of the SARS-CoV-2 virus was bats. From these mammals, it came to an "intermediate" species from which the virus jumped into humans.

It has been talked about insistently that this intermediate animal was the pangolin, but scientists have not yet concluded their investigations.

"Everything points to its animal origin and that it was neither manipulated nor built in a laboratory... This is the position of the WHO as a science-based organization," Chaib insisted.​​​​​​​

"When a new virus appears, it is usual to see conspiracy theories about its origin spread," the WHO spokeswoman recalled.

The first hints that the SARS-CoV-2 emerged from the Wuhan's Institute of Virology were released by the U.S. government. On April 16, the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the virus came out of a laboratory.

Although he did not present evidence to support his claims, the rumor has been echoed by many media and social networks.

"We must focus on facts and not on fear... Part of the falsehoods appearing in the media and on social platforms have to do with spurious theories," Chaib insisted.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

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