The United States intelligence community on Thursday, said it has concluded that the novel Coronavirus is not man-made, or genetically modified.
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However, it said it is still examining whether the outbreak could have originated in a Chinese laboratory.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which oversees the U.S.’ 17 intelligence bodies, said in a press release that intelligence community “concurs with the wide scientific consensus that the COVID-19 virus was not manmade or genetically modified.”
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The statement added that the agencies will “continue to rigorously examine emerging information and intelligence to determine whether the outbreak began through contact with infected animals or if it was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan.”
The statement comes as U.S. President, Donald Trump, and his allies suggested that the virus could have originated at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the Chinese city where the outbreak began in late 2019.
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The head of the institute has rejected the allegations, and scientists have expressed doubts that the new Coronavirus could have come from a lab.
The first infections were linked with an animal market in Wuhan.
Experts believe the virus comes from bats, and might also have been spread via another host animal.
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“Yes I have,” Trump responded, adding that the “World Health Organisation should be ashamed of themselves”.
When asked to provide details on the information Trump said: “I am not allowed to tell you.”
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Trump has also accused Beijing of covering up information on the virus and failing to act quickly enough to slow its spread.
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