TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The Chinese virology institute in the city of Wuhan where COVID-19 first emerged has three live strains of bat coronavirus on-site, but none match the new contagion wreaking chaos across the world, its director has said.
Scientists think COVID-19 — which first emerged in Wuhan and has killed some 340,000 people worldwide — originated in bats and could have been transmitted to people via another mammal.
But the director of the Wuhan Institute of Virology told state broadcaster CGTN that claims made by US President Donald Trump and others the virus could have leaked from the facility were “pure fabrication”.
In the interview filmed on May 13 but broadcast Saturday night, Wang Yanyi said the centre has “isolated and obtained some coronaviruses from bats.”
“Now we have three strains of live viruses… But their highest similarity to SARS-CoV-2 only reaches 79.8 percent,” she said, referring to the coronavirus strain that causes COVID-19, AFP reported.
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Tasnim News Agency