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Evidence shows coronavirus not from lab, says Croatian scientist

Xinhua | Updated: 2020-05-14 16:11
This undated transmission electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2, also known as novel coronavirus, the virus that causes COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the US. [Photo/Agencies]

ZAGREB - Scientific evidence has shown that the coronavirus is naturally derived and not engineered in a lab, a Croatian scientist has said.

Our analysis has showed that the coronavirus cases in Croatia were imported from neighboring countries, Oliver Vugrek, head of the Laboratory for Advanced Genomics at Rudjer Boskovic Institute, told Xinhua in a phone interview.

Vugrek dismissed the theory that the coronavirus was genetically engineered in a lab, emphasizing that such viruses can be found in nature.

He said that the mutations of the virus and its high infectivity can possibly explain the virus is the result of natural selection rather than genetic engineering.

"It is very likely that the virus was transmitted from animals to people but we don't know the mediator yet," Vugrek said.

Vugrek led an interdisciplinary team of Croatian scientists to determine the genetic sequence of the coronavirus in April.

Croatia has seen a significant decline in new coronavirus cases since late April and the government has begun to ease restrictions following the advice of epidemiologists.

Vugrek warned that warm weather will not destroy the virus, but only slow down its outbreak, because the aerosols that carry the virus evaporate much faster at higher temperatures.

Croatia reported its first case of coronavirus on Feb. 25. As of Wednesday, 2,213 cases were recorded with 94 deaths.

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