Coronavirus News Asia

French prof sparks furor with lab leak theory

A theory put forward by French professor Luc Montagnier — award-winning co-discoverer of the AIDS virus but also mocked by some colleagues for some outrageous theories — has sparked a scientific firestorm.

According to the Nobel Prize winner in Medicine, a man used to controversy, the SARS-CoV-2 virus is the result of an attempt to manufacture a vaccine against the AIDS virus, Agence France Presse reported.

According to him, the presence of elements of HIV in the genome of the new virus, and even of elements of the “germ of malaria” are suspect, the report said. Montagnier, who was interviewed spoke on the CNews channel, said the characteristics of the new coronavirus could not have arisen naturally.

The accident was said to have taken place in the Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory, he added.

“The Wuhan city laboratory has specialized in these coronaviruses since the early 2000s,” he claimed. “They have expertise in this area.”

He also proposes to rid the virus of these foreign elements “with waves” — a theory which has attracted mockery in the past.

“That does not make sense. These are very small elements that we find in other viruses of the same family, other coronaviruses in nature,” virologist Étienne Simon-Lorière of the Institut Pasteur in Paris, explained to AFP.

“These are pieces of the genome that actually look like lots of sequences in the genetic material of bacteria, viruses and plants,” he says.

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