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WHO dismisses Wuhan lab leak theory; US passes 550K coronavirus deaths; more Americans eligible for vaccines: Live COVID-19 updates

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The theory that the coronavirus pandemic originated from a Chinese lab drew little support from a joint World Health Organization-China study on the origins of the global crisis that has claimed almost 2.8 million lives.

The report being released Tuesday backs the previously accepted theory that the virus was most likely transmitted from bats to humans through another animal. The report also suggests the role played by a Wuhan seafood market from which human cases were traced was uncertain. Research published last year in the journal Lancet suggested the market may have served to further spread the disease rather than being its source.

The report cites several reasons for all but dismissing that possibility the virus escaped a lab in Wuhan, a sprawling city of 11 million people where the virus was first identified. The report say such accidents are rare and that the labs in Wuhan working on coronaviruses and vaccines are well-managed. It also notes that there is no record of viruses closely related to the coronavirus in any laboratory before December 2019 and that the risk of accidentally growing the virus was extremely low.

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