The World Health Organisation on Friday reiterated that it believes that the novel coronavirus that has caused the global Covid-19 pandemic is has a natural origin.

“We have listened again and again to numerous scientists who have looked at the sequence and looked at the virus, and we are assured that this virus is natural in origin,” said Dr Michael Ryan, executive director of WHO’s Health Emergencies Program at a press briefing.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) last week had said that the novel coronavirus is likely to have originated in bats and not manipulated or produced in a lab-based on the evidence so far.

Ryan on Friday said that the WHO teams have consulted with scientists time and again who have looked at the gene sequences and the virus. WHO is assured that the virus is natural in origin.

Ryan’s statement is contradictory to US President Donal Trump’s claims that the virus had originated in a lab in Wuhan.

Trump on Thursday had said that he had seen evidence that linked the novel coronavirus outbreak to a Wuhan lab according to an AFP report.

However, the US intelligence community in a statement on Thursday had echoed WHO’s claims stating that the virus was likely natural in its origin and not man-made or engineered.

“The Covid-19 virus was not man-made or genetically modified,” said the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) which coordinates between 17 US spy agencies, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Ryan had further said that it was important to establish the natural host of the virus. This could help experts better understand the virus to prevent and respond to future outbreaks.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at a press briefing ha said that the WHO had consulted with its Emergency Committee and will be working on finding the animal origin of the virus.

“We accept the committee’s advice that WHO works to identify the animal source of the virus through international scientific and collaborative missions, in collaboration with the World Organisation for Animal Health and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations,” he said.