The statement, penned by a team of 27 health experts from outside of China, warned against the spread of fear, rumours and prejudice.

The scientists published their statement in The Lancet, a journal that has seen an influx of coronavirus studies since December last year.

The statement reads: “The rapid, open, and transparent sharing of data on this outbreak is now being threatened by rumours and misinformation around its origins.

“We stand together to strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin.

“Scientists from multiple countries have published and analysed genomes of the causative agent, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), and they overwhelmingly conclude that this coronavirus originated in wildlife, as have so many other emerging pathogens.


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