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NEW YORK – The SARS-CoV-2 virus behind the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic evolved from naturally occurring strains, according to a new comparative genomic analysis.

"By comparing the available genome sequence data for known coronavirus strains, we can firmly determine that SARS-CoV-2 originated through natural processes," corresponding author Kristian Andersen, an immunology and microbiology researcher affiliated with the Scripps Research Institute and the Scripps Research Translational Institute, said in a statement. 

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