Luc Montagnier, a Nobel prize-winning scientist of France has made a very sensational claim – that the SARS-CoV-2 virus had actually come from a laboratory in Wuhan in China, and that it was the outcome of an endeavour to manufacture a vaccine against the AIDS virus. This startling yet controversial claim was made during an interview with the French CNews channel, in which Professor Montagnier – who had co-discovered the HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) – has claimed the presence of elements of HIV in the genome of the coronavirus and even elements of the “germ of malaria” are highly suspect. This news story, released by IANS was originally transmitted by Asia Times. It quotes Professor Montagnier of having said that the Wuhan city laboratory has already specialized in these coronaviruses since the early 2000s and that it has expertise in this area.
Professor Montagnier had won the 2008 Nobel Prize in Medicine for identification of AIDS virus, jointly with a colleague Professor Francoise Barre-Sinoussi. The French scientist’s claim has come close on the heels of US President Donald Trump last week hitting headlines by endorsing a Fox News report that the novel coronavirus may have been accidentally leaked by an intern working at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China. Fox News had earlier, in an exclusive report based on unnamed sources, claimed that though the virus is a naturally occurring strain among bats and not a bio-weapon, but it was being definitely studied in the Wuhan laboratory. Trump, who does not hesitate even once while blaming China for so many things, had recently even issued a veiled warning to the Communist giant over coronavirus.
While Deborah Birx, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, had on Sunday said that the first country exposed to a pandemic has a “moral obligation” to be transparent in its response, Trump went one step ahead when he said on Saturday that there should be “consequences” if China was knowingly responsible. If the French CNews channel is to be trusted, the initial transmission of the virus was bat-to-human, and that the “patient zero” worked at the laboratory. The lab employee was accidentally infected before spreading the disease among the common people outside the lab in Wuhan city, it said. About two years ago, US embassy officials in China had raised concerns about the insufficient bio-safety at the Chinese government’s Wuhan Institute of Virology where deadly viruses and infectious diseases are studied.