She said that "now we have three strains of live viruses". We obtained its whole genome sequence.
"And then in a very short time, we identified that this was a new type of coronavirus in these samples. However, their greatest similarity to SARS-CoV-2 just reaches 79.8 percent", she explained, talking about the coronavirus strain which leads to COVID-19.
Wang confirmed the institute had done work on three live strains of a bat coronavirus, but their genome was different from that of Covid-19 - or SARS-CoV-2, as it came to be known in scientific community.
Earlier this month, President Trump had claimed that he had evidence to prove that the coronavirus had originated from the virology institute in Wuhan, despite USA intelligence agencies' stating that the virus was not manmade.
Shi said the institute is committed to transparency and shared all available data with the world in a timely fashion, noting that the World Health Organization was well-informed about the breakthroughs which had been made at an early stage. "The viruses that we have discovered are just the tip of the iceberg", she said, adding that they had to learn about viruses carried by wild animals and give early warnings, store drugs and detection reagents for future prevention and control. "The novel coronavirus had existed long before", Gao Fu, director of the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said.
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The 55-year-old based in Wuhan, China, the epicentre of coronavirus, claims the new threat is a result of the flying mammals and the virus constantly evolving.
According to scientists around the world, coronavirus was originated in bats and had emerged from Wuhan.
The director, however, still insists that these strains are not the source of the global pandemic, which has killed over 340,000 people around the world, and infected over 5.3 million globally, as of Sunday morning. China has consistently denied that COVID-19 originated in a lab.
Chinese Foreign minister Wang Yi on Sunday claimed U.S. politicians chose to "fabricate rumors" about the origins to "stigmatize China". In China I think such statements are baseless and talking about the natural origin of the coronavirus.