Nobel winning scientist who co-discovered HIV claims novel Coronavirus was made in Wuhan's lab

  • Nobel laureate Luc Montagnier maintains that novel coronavirus had elements of HIV, and such modifications can only be made in a lab

  • This may fall under another coronavirus conspiracy theory, as experts critique

Luc Montagnier, a Nobel winning French professor who co-discovered HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) thinks that the novel coronavirus came from a lab even though there is a major science-backed narrative that it was not made in a lab.

His claim received criticism from various quarters, including colleagues. According to the Nobel laureate, the new 'SARS-CoV-2' virus came as a resultant in attempting to manufacture a vaccine for the AIDS virus, which got accidentally released, he said in a podcast by Pourquoi Docteur and also in a TV interview on Friday.

Prof. Montagnier says there were some elements of HIV present in the genome of the novel coronavirus that includes suspect of elements of malaria germ too, reported Agence France Presse. This may fall into the category of another conspiracy theory, to which he replied, "Conspirators are the opposite camp, hiding the truth"

Wuhan lab leaked it

Luc Montagnier
Luc Montagnier Twitter

Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory, he said, was specialized in coronaviruses since the 2000s and have expertise in the area. To insert HIV genetic sequence into coronavirus genome requires molecular tools and can be done in a laboratory.

However Montagnier said, "Nature does not accept any molecular tinkering." Nature would eliminate any unnatural changes made even if nothing [like a vaccine] is done and he added that things would get better after many deaths. Also, the Nobel laureate said that the elements added to the virus could be removes with "waves," that is based on a theory which got mocked in the past.


Novel Coronavirus
Novel Coronavirus

Étienne Simon-Lorière, a virologist from Institut Pasteur in Paris, said to AFP that the claim didn't make sense as there were very small elements found in other coronaviruses too. Some genome pieces looked like genetic material of plants and bacteria too! He explained a logic, "If we take a word from a book and it looks like another word, can we say that one has copied from the other? This is absurd!"

He also rubbished the claim that nature would get rid of foreign elements as false. However, Simon Lorière, did not comment on Montagnier's "waves" theory. Prof Montagnier received the 2008 Nobel Prize in Medicine for co-identifying HIV that causes AIDS. Nature reports that Wuhan's virology lab got assistance from France, a part of 2004 agreement of co-operation to prevent and control infectious diseases which emerged. The lab's construction was finished in 2014.

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