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Genetic characteristics of coronavirus point to its natural origin, scientist says
A natural origin of the novel coronavirus is more likely than an artificial one, since the degree of genetic affinity of SARS-CoV-2 with natural viruses surpasses 90%, Director of the Mechnikov Research Institute of Vaccines and Sera Oksana Svitich said at a general meeting of professors of the Russian Academy of Sciences on Friday.
"If we are to evaluate from the point of view of genetic data how homologous (of the same origin - TASS) they are with the natural viruses, then there the degree of homology surpasses 90%," she said.
The scientist noted that to date, there have been no data indicating that the structure of the virus has signs of being artificially created. Had the virus "possessed any alien inclusions, the information on this would have appeared a long time ago," she added.
"Since there is no direct proof, I am more inclined [to think] that this is the natural variant," she concluded.
According to the latest global statistics, about 75 mln people have been infected worldwide and over 1.6 mln deaths have been reported. To date, 2,791,220 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Russia, with 2,228,633 patients having recovered from the disease. Russia's latest data indicates 49,762 fatalities nationwide. Earlier, the Russian government set up an Internet hotline to keep the public updated on the coronavirus situation.
[Source: Tass, Moscow, 18Dec20]
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