SARS-CoV-2 most likely originated in nature and not in a laboratory, on the basis of early genetic analysis of the new virus and well-established evidence from previous emerging infectious diseases, including the coronavirus, a group of scientists wrote in the Lancet journal published on Monday.
The published report is a compilation by biologists, ecologists, epidemiologists, physicians, public health experts, and veterinarians from around the world.
"There is no scientific evidence supporting the theory that the coronavirus escaped from a Chinese lab, and more recent studies suggest the virus evolved in nature", the report adds.
According to Johns Hopkins, as of July 6, 2021, the pandemic has resulted in 184,285,579 confirmed cases and 3,987,062 deaths.
"Careful and transparent collection of scientific information is essential to understand how the virus has spread and to develop strategies to mitigate the ongoing impact of COVID-19, whether it occurred wholly within nature or might somehow have reached the community via an alternative route, and prevent future pandemics", the authors of the report explained.
"To accomplish this, we encourage WHO and scientific partners across the world to expeditiously move to continue and further extend their initial investigation with experts in China and the Chinese Government."
The report also supports the G7 leaders' call for “a timely, transparent, expert-led, and science-based WHO-convened phase 2 COVID-19 origins study”.