Disinfo: HIV was found in the Coronavirus, hence it was engineered

Summary

The Coronavirus was created inside a laboratory, especially as HIV particles (AIDS) were found inside it.

Disproof

Recurring conspiracy theory about the novel coronavirus. There is no evidence to suggest that the virus was fabricated inside laboratories. The expert scientific consensus holds that the coronavirus has natural origins; there is no credible evidence supporting claims of laboratory engineering.

The claim that the COVID-19 contains artificially-introduced insertions from the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), thereby proving it is man-made, is based on a preprint of a research study uploaded to bioRXiV on 2 February 2020.

The paper, titled "Uncanny similarity of unique inserts in the 2019-nCoV spike protein to HIV-1 gp120 and Gag", has not been peer-reviewed and was soon withdrawn by the authors after the study received extensive criticism from other scientists and the genetic information that had matched turned out to be common in many other organisms.

Criticism of the study’s findings by experts has been published in several other outlets. In this Forbes article, Arinjay Banerjee, a postdoctoral fellow at McMaster University who has studied coronaviruses, said that:

"The authors compared very short regions of proteins in the novel coronavirus and concluded that the small segments of proteins were similar to segments in HIV proteins. Comparing very short segments can often generate false positives and it is difficult to make these conclusions using small protein segments."

Trevor Bedford, a faculty member at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center who studies viral evolution, re-analysed the gene and protein sequences used by the authors and found that the so-called “unique” inserts appeared in many other organisms, including Cryptosporidium and Plasmodium malariae, which cause cryptosporidiosis and malaria, respectively.

Assistant professor at Stanford University Silvana Konermann also checked the authors’ findings and came to the same conclusion, calling the similarity “spurious”.

See further debunk by Radio - Canada (in French).

You can see other examples of this narrative in our database, such as claims thatBill Gates andGeorge Soros are sponsoring the coronavirus, that it is aUK,US orNATO creation and that the Americans haveits cure, that it isan artificial disease which specificallytargets Chinese DNA, that it was createdwith economic goals whilebig pharma companies are spreading panic for their own profit, that it is a biological weaponagainst Russia and China, that it willwipe out Ukraine’s population in a few days or that it was predicted byNostradamus and others.

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  • Reported in: Issue 193
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 18/04/2020
  • Outlet language(s) Arabic, English
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Middle East and Africa, Middle East
  • Keywords: coronavirus, Virus / bacteria threat, Biological weapons, Conspiracy theory
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Armenia, like other post-Soviet republics, is in a state of colonisation by the West

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Armenia, like other post-Soviet republics, is in a state of colonisation, completely conquered by the West. The policy of further colonisation was taken to a new level through Nikol Pashinyan and his political team. These are attacks on the Armenian national and Christian values, […] imposing the evil system in our Holy Land. Including the fact that gays and transgender people are given a green light. In Armenia today, more than yesterday, all state institutions are more or less conquered by a foreign enemy. The independence of the Republic of Armenia is very partial. The enemy has turned its sharp arrows against the Church and the family. They perfectly understand the supremacy of these two foundations. There are serious obstacle to the implementation of anti-divine, anti-human and geopolitical plans.

Disproof

Conspiracy theory and part of the recurring pro-Kremlin narratives about lost sovereignty and threatened values. This disinformation message promotes the concept of a big conspiracy and is consistent with the recurring Shadow Government narrative, which pro-Kremlin disinformation sources often deploy as a rhetorical device to undermine the West and the international liberal-democratic institutional order. It is also aimed at discrediting a number of democratic and liberal concepts such as civil society, and to question the legitimacy of Armenian state institutions. See earlier disinformation cases alleging that global neo-colonialists stage colour revolutions and conquer indigenous national elites, that the Anglo-Saxons rule America “from abroad” and are now trying to control Russia, that Armenia is under Soros occupation, and that agents of Soros are destroying Armenian statehood, that Armenia is under Anglo-American occupation, and that Open Society Foundations-Armenia, as well as dozens of other foundations and NGOs in Armenia, are serving foreign agendas aimed at the collapse of Armenian statehood, Armenia is occupied by foreign agent network.

Coronavirus might have been brought to Wuhan from outside China

The coronavirus that caused the pandemic did not originate in Wuhan. Five of China’s largest scientific institutes have studied the COVID-19 genome samples taken in 12 countries on 4 continents. They found that there is no “ancestor” of the virus that can be found in China. It means that the coronavirus was brought to the market in Wuhan, where it is believed the epidemic began, by an already infected person. It is likely that by that time, the infection was already developing in other regions.

Disproof

An unfounded conspiracy theory and pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The first cases of COVID-19 were reported in China, in the city of Wuhan on December 31. On that day, China alerted the WHO about several cases of pneumonia from an unknown cause. Some of those infected worked at the city's Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, which is believed to be the place where the new disease originated. Very quickly, the number of those infected rose to over 40. On January 13, the coronavirus was confirmed in Thailand, in Japan on January 16 and in North Korea and the United States on January 20. In Japan, the first case of coronavirus was confirmed in a resident of Kanagawa Prefecture who had travelled to Wuhan at the beginning of January. The first case in Italy was confirmed on January 30, when two Chinese tourists in Rome tested positive for the virus. A week later the third case was confirmed in an Italian man who was repatriated back to Italy from Wuhan.

Chinese questions about the virus were never answered

China has officially requested the United States to conduct a health examination of the members of the US Military Sports Mission, which participated in the Military World Games, which was held in Wuhan in October 2019. But the United States did not respond to the Chinese request. The US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick (Maryland) is funded for the purpose of developing viruses and germs that can be used as weapons in biological wars. After it was closed in July 2019 because polluting materials leaked out of it, China has detected that residents of areas close to the institute were exposed to a severe flu wave in August 2019, which infected more than ten thousand people.

Disproof

Conspiracy theory about the 2019-nCoV coronavirus. There is no evidence to suggest that the virus is being used as a weapon against other states or that is has been fabricated inside laboratories. The expert scientific consensus holds that the coronavirus has natural origins; there is no credible evidence supporting claims of laboratory engineering. Apart from the American soldiers, there were in fact 17 teams with over 280 athletes and staff from different countries and nations participating in the Military World Games that was held from October 18-27, 2019 in the capital of Hubei Province in Wuhan. The coronavirus started to spread 65 days after the closing ceremony of the Military World Games, and so far there is no evidence to prove any connection between the two events. The Pentagon has had confirmed cases and is bracing for more to emerge, but “no illnesses have been tied to American service members” in the period that followed the Military World Games. In August 2019, a US Army laboratory at Fort Detrick, Maryland that studies germs and toxins that could be used to threaten the military or public health, and also investigates disease outbreaks as Ebola and smallpox was shut down for a period of time after a Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) inspection that occurred in June, and was partially reopened in December, and is now back up running and helping in the fight against COVID-19. The suspension was due to multiple causes, including failure to follow local procedures and a lack of periodic recertification training for workers in the biocontainment laboratories. The wastewater decontamination system of the lab also failed to meet standards set by the Federal Select Agent Programme. Caree Vander Linden, a spokeswoman, ensured that “there has been no threat to public health, no injuries to employees" and "the leaks were within the lab and not to the outside world".