A new Chinese coronavirus, a cousin of the SARS virus, has infected hundreds since the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December.

China on Thursday denied suspicions reportedly raised by U.S. intelligence sources that the coronavirus might have originated in a medical laboratory rather than a food market in the city of Wuhan.

Though more research was needed to clarify the origin of the virus, there was no evidence to suggest it was man-made, or that it originated in a laboratory, said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian.

“The World Health Organisation said there is no evidence that it was manufactured in a laboratory.

“Many renowned medical experts have also confirmed that the allegation that the virus leaked from a laboratory has no scientific basis,” the spokesman said.

The Chinese repudiation came a day after U.S. President Donald Trump was asked during a news conference to comment on media reports that U.S. intelligence was investigating whether the coronavirus came from a Chinese laboratory.

“I don’t want to say that. But I will tell you that we hear this story more and more,” Trump said.

The president added that his administration was investigating very closely what had happened.

Immediately after the news conference, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News that China had failed to provide answers in this regard.

The U.S. broadcaster has been repeating this theory based on testimony from unnamed sources.

Experts believe the virus originated in an animal market in Wuhan, where the first infections also occurred.

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