A Nobel laureate scientist has claimed that the Novel Corona Virus was originated from a Wuhan laboratory though the attempt might have been to manufacture a vaccine against Human Immuno deficiency Virus, HIV.
French Nobel prize-winning scientist Luc Montagnier has claimed that the novel coronavirus might have originated from a Wuhan laboratory with a motive to come out with a vaccine against HIV. Mr Montagnier, the man who co-discovered HIV, during an interview with a prestigious French news channel, said, “The presence of HIV elements in the genome of SARS-CoV-2 raises suspicion against a possible man-made virus.”
Prof Montagnier said that the Wuhan city laboratory has expertise in this area since they have been working on the coronaviruses since the early 2000s. However, the claim received criticism from scientists and his colleagues and WHO asked people not to believe him.
“Just in case you don’t know. Dr Montagnier has been rolling downhill incredibly fast in the last few years. From baselessly defending homeopathy to becoming an antivaxxer. Whatever he says, just don’t believe him,” tweeted Juan Carlos Gabaldon.
Controversy of virus origin
The origin of SARS-CoV-2 is not known but preliminary studies suggested that the bats could be the source since the coronavirus present in bats has a genome that is 96 per cent identical to the novel coronavirus. It is believed that pangolin was the immediate host because the bat coronavirus cannot bind to receptors in human cells, however, there has not been any concrete evidence.
After reports of lab-originated virus gained momentum, the director of Wuhan Institute of Virology Yuan Zhiming denied the claims calling it “impossible”. In an interview with Chinese state media, Yuan said that none of his staff had been infected, and the “whole institute is carrying out research in different areas related to the coronavirus”.
The United States has repeatedly accused China of hiding the facts regarding the novel coronavirus and hinting towards a possible origin from the Wuhan laboratory. During a White House press briefing on coronavirus, State Secretary Mike Pompeo had said that there is still time for clarity and transparency over COVID-19 as researchers are still working on the problem and they need accurate data to perform their analysis related to therapeutics and vaccine.