Coronavirus is not man-made, only the rumours are

By analysing the public genome sequence data from SARS-CoV-2 , researchers have convincingly concluded that "SARS-CoV-2 is not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus" | Illustration - Prathap Ravishankar

Debunking the conspiracy theory that the SARS-CoV-2 was a secret Chinese bio-weapon that somehow escaped from labs into the community, a recent research has put the rumours to rest and asserts that the origin of the virus is 'natural'.

Published online on March 11 in the reputed Nature Medicine, the team* of researchers led by Kristian Andersen, associate professor of immunology and microbiology at Scripps Research Institute, California, US, concluded that the SARS-CoV-2 strain presently ravaging the world "originated through natural processes".

SARS-CoV-2 was first identified in Wuhan, Hubei province, China in early December 2019 and has currently spread to 110 countries. As of March 18, 2020, around 207,860 novel pneumonia COVID-19 cases have been confirmed, and about 8,657 deaths have been reported.

The proximity of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a research institute under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, to the outbreak locale led to speculations in media that "coronavirus may have leaked from a lab".

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