April 30, 2020 / 3:07 PM / a month ago

Coronavirus originated in China but was 'not manmade or genetically modified' - U.S. spy agency

FILE PHOTO: Zhong Nanshan, a respiratory expert and head of the health commission team investigating the outbreak of the new coronavirus, visits the Jinyintan hospital, where the patients with pneumonia caused by the new strain of coronavirus are being treated, in Wuhan, Hubei province, China January 19, 2020. China Daily via REUTERS/File Photo ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. CHINA OUT.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. spy agencies believe the COVID-19 virus originated in China but was not manmade or genetically modified, the agency that oversees U.S. intelligence operations said on Thursday.

“The Intelligence Community also concurs with the wide scientific consensus that the COVID-19 virus was not manmade or genetically modified,” the Office of Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) said in a statement, adding that U.S. spy agencies would “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.”

Reporting By Mark Hosenball; Writing by Arshad Mohammed; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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