While France may have denounced the claims made by Luc Montagnier, virologist, and winner of the 2008 Nobel Prize for Medicine for his work on HIV, the French citizens distrustful of the government actually do believe that SARS-CoV-2, the putative cause of COVID-19, is a laboratory-manipulated virus.
Professor Luc Montagnier in a TV interview said that the SARS-CoV-2 is a manipulated virus that was accidentally released from the Wuhan laboratory, where the Chinese researchers used coronaviruses in their work to develop an AIDS vaccine. HIV RNA fragments are believed to have been found in the SARS-CoV-2 genome, Professor Luc claimed.
His statement has disturbed not only the French government but also many in the scientific community.
The French discussion boards which long have been debating over the link between the Wuhan lab and the government of France, however, find the Nobel-winning scientist's claim valid.
Did the French government build the Wuhan P4 lab?
As per a widely cited survey in France, 26 percent of the population in the country believed the coronavirus that caused COVID 19 was a man-made virus and there was 17 percent believed that COVID 19 was deliberately created.
For the French citizens, the distrust against the government stems from the fact that France helped China build the P4 laboratory, where according to Professor Luc the Chinese made the SARS-CoV-2 virus in an attempt to manufacture a vaccine against AIDS virus.
Rudy Reichstadt, a member of the Jean Jaurès Foundation's Observatory of Political Radicalisation told The Local that [former health minister] Agnès Buzyn, her husband Yves Lévy, and the Director-General of Health Jérôme Salomon were directly involved in the building of P4 labs in Wuhan.
"We are told in particular that Yves Lévy took part, when he was head of [national medical research institute] Inserm, in the inauguration in 2017 of the P4 laboratory in Wuhan, which is quite true," Reichtadt said.
Though the United States does not anymore believe coronavirus to be a man-made bioweapon, the US spy agencies are now probing an angle involving a lab accident that led to the virus eventually escaping the Wuhan lab and infecting civilians.