A report to be released by the Word Health Organization is to say SARS-CoV-2 most likely arose in bats before being transmitted to people through another animal, according to the Associated Press.
The AP adds that the report is based on the findings from the WHO team that visited Wuhan, China, earlier this year to investigate the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time, the team, which faced numerous delays, examined a number of theories, but said bats appeared to be the most probable source of the virus. As the New York Times also noted then, the investigation took place in a tense political atmosphere in which both the US and China offered alternative theories for the virus's origins.
The WHO team now reports that the lab leak theory is "extremely unlikely" and that though its spread through "cold-chain" food products was possible, it was also unlikely, according to the AP. It notes that bats remain the likely culprit, and a number of recent studies have further found viruses similar to SARS-CoV-2 among bats. Similar viruses have also been found in pangolins, suggesting they or possibly mink could the unknown intermediate host, the AP adds.
The report, which itself has also been subject to delays, is to be released Tuesday, according to the Times.