news

Claims of 2019 novel coronavirus created in a lab are bogus

 

KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 27): Claims by some netizens that the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was made in laboratories  with its vaccine readily available, was not accurate, said Factcheck.org, a non-profit organisation working with Facebook to debunk misinformation.

In fact, it said, there is no vaccine yet available for the new virus and there is no patent related to the virus.

Quoting the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the organisation noted that some of the 'conspiracy theory' postings made on the social media platform linked it with patents that were actually related to two different viruses in the Coronavirus family, which was formed by a group of viruses that tend to cause respiratory illnesses in humans and a variety of other illnesses in animals.

It said one patent is for a genetic sequence of the virus that causes SARS in which the sequencing was done at the CDC during the SARS outbreak and the patent was filed by them.

The other supposedly related patent is for a mutated form of avian infectious bronchitis virus, or IBV, filed by the Pirbright Institute, a research institute in the U.K, which infects poultry, but not people, it added.

“Neither of these has anything to do with the new 2019-nCoV virus. This is clearly a bogus theory that this virus was created in a lab, patented and has a vaccine already made to it.”  said  Matthew Frieman, a coronavirus researcher at the University of Maryland, as quoted by Factcheck.org. in its website.

Among the posts on Facebook, as shared by Factcheck.org in its website, reads “Funny enough, there was a patent for the coronavirus was filed in 2015 and granted in 2018.” and another one, which was shared by others, and was part of a series of false coronavirus posts, proclaimed that the virus is “‘new’ yet it was lab created and patented in 2015 (in development since 03’).”

As of now,  Factcheck.org noted that researchers were still working to understand the origin, spread and severity of the latest coronavirus.

Evidence suggests the virus likely spilled over to humans from an as-yet-unidentified animal, as has happened in the past for other coronaviruses.

The SARS virus, for instance, is thought to have come from bats, and then spread to humans through civets, a cat-like animal eaten as a delicacy in Asia. The SARS virus then proved to be transmissible from person to person.

As of Saturday (Jan 25), the Health Ministry has so far confirmed four cases of novel coronavirus infection in Malaysia.  

 

SHARE
RELATED POSTS
  1. Malaysia to spend RM20b to stimulate economy, higher than Singapore's S$5.6b (RM17b)
  2. Number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in S Korea rises by 69 per cent to 346
  3. COVID-19: China records new cases of deaths