U.S. chief epidemiologist Fauci said that available evidence suggests that the virus has passed from animals to humans.
The World Health Organization said Washington has not provided any evidence to support “speculative” claims by U.S. President Donald Trump that the new coronavirus originated in a Chinese laboratory.
“We have not received any data or specific evidence from the U.S. government regarding the alleged origin of the virus. So in our view, this is still speculation,” said Michael Ryan, WHO Emergency Director, during a virtual briefing.
Scientists believe the killer virus has passed from animals to humans, having appeared in China late last year, possibly in a market in Wuhan where exotic animals were sold.
US chief epidemiologist Anthony Fauci shared the WHO position in an interview with National Geographic magazine on Monday.
“If you look at the evolution of the virus in bats and the [scientific evidence] we have now, it strongly supports the thesis that it could not have been created artificially and was not deliberately manipulated,” Fauci told the magazine.
“Everything we know about the gradual evolution is a strong indication that the virus evolved in nature and then passed from one species to another,” he said.