The United States Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a key member of the White House coronavirus task force, Anthony Fauci, rejected Friday a conspiracy theory claiming that the novel coronavirus was made in a lab.
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Fauci, during a press briefing at the White House, underscored in his remarks that studies of the virus' genome have strongly indicated that it was transmitted from an animal to a human rather than created or enhanced in a laboratory setting, as a review in a scientific journal found.
"A group of highly-qualified evolutionary virologists looked at the sequences in bats as they evolve," Fauci said. "The mutations that it took to get to the point where it is now is totally consistent with a jump of a species from an animal to a human."
Fauci was referring to a study published in Nature Medicine in March, in which researchers said that "they do not believe that any type of laboratory-based scenario is plausible."
The study entitled "The proximal origin of SARS-CoV-2", led by computational biologist Kristian Andersen at Scripps Research in California, compared the novel coronavirus, or SARS-CoV-2, to the six other coronaviruses known to infect humans.
"Our analyses clearly show that SARS-CoV-2 is not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus," the study made up of highly-qualified specialists said.
The remarks of Fauci came as some U.S. politicians and media outlets are pushing the conspiracy theory that the virus escaped from a Chinese lab despite a lack of hard evidence.
According to Politico, a website ran by a U.S. political opinion company, this conspiracy theory "has given the president's supporters an alluring new talking point as they seek to deflect blame for the pandemic's brutal toll on the United States."
Meanwhile, some Democrats and former U.S. officials have also accused Trump of using China and the WHO "as a scapegoat to deflect from his own failures in handling coronavirus," Business Insider, U.S. financial and business news website, reported on Sunday.
According to a study by Quinnipiac University, Fauci has become the most reliable man for U.S. nationals in recent months, as more than 70 percent of the population has shown their trust in him, despite threats of dismissal by Trump, who he has had to face dozens of times with nothing but the truth about the virus situation in the country.