A British researcher who spoke to an advisor to Iran's health minister allegedly said that the fast-spreading mutated strain of novel Coronavirus may have leaked from a vaccine research facility in the UK.
Alireza Vahabzadeh, who is the media advisor to Iran's health minister Saeed Namaki, said in a tweet that "today we had a conversation with a British researcher who said the mutated virus has probably leaked from a vaccine development laboratory in the UK".
In the tweet, he also added that it is not clear how the virus was leaked from the UK laboratory. "Apparently the country's doctors are not allowed to comment about the issue, and no clear explanation has been provided in this regard", said the Iranian official.
New Strain in UK
The authorities in the UK recorded almost 40,000 new COVID-19 cases within the past 24 hours on Wednesday, December 23, while the country braces against the new strain of the virus that appears to be more contagious as per experts. Another 744 people died in the UK of infection-related complications on Wednesday and that is the highest single-day fatality numbers recorded since late April.
The authorities blame much of the Coronavirus surge on the new mutated strain of the virus that could be as much as 70 percent more infectious than other variants. However, there is no evidence that this strain is more dangerous or deadly and causes more severe symptoms or is less susceptible to COVID-19 vaccines.
In the early months of the Coronavirus pandemic, China's Wuhan Institute of Virology was the center of Coronavirus related debates, after many experts, political leaders claimed that the SARS-CoV-2 had leaked from the Chinese lab. But as of now, there is no evidence to support the claim. Now, similar claims have emerged but this time a UK lab is under the spotlight.
However, no British official or healthcare expert made any comments regarding the leak yet. Currently, the authorities in the UK are trying to control the spread of the virus in the country. The World Health Organization (WHO) said that the mutated strain found in Britain is not out of control yet.
Michael Ryan the chief of WHO's emergencies told in a press conference that "we have had a much higher (contamination rate) at different points in this pandemic and we've got it under control. So, this situation is not in that sense out of control. But it cannot be left to its own devices."