Disinfo: The SARS-CoV-2 virus demonstrates visible signs of human manipulation

Summary

The new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, was analysed by Pr Luc Montagnier and the mathematician Jean-Claude Perez and it seemed unnatural. Some sequences of the virus were visibly added by human manipulation, the quality of the work is unremarkable, meticulous, impressive like the work of watchmakers. The probable motivation of Chinese scientists was to design a vaccine against HIV and something went wrong.

Disproof

One of many conspiracy theories about the origin of 2019-nCoV coronavirus. There is no evidence recognised by the scientific community that suggests the coronavirus (2019-nCoV) could have been man-made. Professor Luc Montagnier, winner of the Nobel Prize in Medicine, quotes the study of Jean-Claude Perez, a 72 years old mathematician, which so far doesn't meet up the scientific standards to be published by a referenced Journal. The work of Jean-Claude Perez has been published in a Journal that lacks peer-review and international audience among specialists. The study shows that very small sequences of the genome of SARS-2 are similar to some strains of HIV, but the coincidences are not significant given the small size of the sequences. In other words, these sequences are not insertions but are rather common sequences found in numerous other organisms such as bacteria and parasites. Therefore, the existence of these sequences in SARS-CoV-2 does not provide evidence of a link to HIV, nor that scientists purposely inserted HIV sequences into the SARS-CoV-2 genome. Besides that, the "cherry-picking" approach (keeping only the results that support the theory and dismissing results that don't) of this study also questions its value. More generally professor Luc Montagnier defended controverted theories during the last decade and scientists repeatedly questioned his credibility. In 2012, 40 Nobel Prize winners signed a petition against Professor Montagnier, claiming that he "accumulates scientific and medical sham". In 2017, more than a hundred members of the Academy of Sciences signed another petition to denounce what he deemed as "dangerous". Alexandre Moatti, historian of sciences, reminds that many scientists who revived the Nobel prize later drifted into ideology or fake-science. Conspiracy theories often put forwards authority argument to be convincing and difficult to refute. However, the fact that a Nobel Prize laureate supports a theory doesn't make it true. On April 21, the World Health Organisation spokeswoman Fadela Chaib stated that “All available evidence suggests the virus has an animal origin and is not manipulated or constructed in a lab or somewhere else.”

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 195
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 17/04/2020
  • Language/target audience: French
  • Country: India, France
  • Keywords: coronavirus, Nobel Prize, Conspiracy theory
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Coronavirus is safe because it only kills old people

COVID-19 is a great virus. Children almost do not get sick, and the average age of the victims is 79.5 years.

Disproof

Regular disinformation about the coronavirus. WHO advises people of all ages to take steps to protect themselves from the virus, for example by following good hand hygiene and good respiratory hygiene. People of all ages can be infected by the new coronavirus. Graham Roberts, an honorary consultant paediatrician at the University of Southampton, explains: "Children (with COVID-19) are predominantly affected in their upper airways (nose, mouths, and throats) so they get cold-like features rather than the virus managing to access their lower airways, ie lungs, and giving the pneumonia and life-threatening Sars picture that we see with adult patients." The proportion of infected children who went on to develop severe or critical COVID-19 illnesses with breathlessness, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), and shock was much lower (6%) than among Chinese adults (19%) – especially older adults with chronic cardiovascular or respiratory conditions. However, there are still cases of children dying from COVID-19. For example, on April 4, a five-year-old child in the UK with underlying health conditions passed away.

Myth about Ukraine as a separate nation was created in the USSR

In the USSR, a myth was created about Ukraine as a country, in which another type of people lives – “Ukrainians”. They were separate, albeit “fraternal”, people. They supposedly consisted of boys and girls in costume, and, as such, were considered to be “folk”. This complimentary, and not substituting identity is the only thing that can help the future of Ukraine and its people. Not concept of “Ukrainian, not Russian”, but that of “Little Russian and Russian”. This will return to Ukraine the meaning of existence as a truly Little Russia, as an integral part of the Russian world.

Disproof

Recurrent pro-Kremlin propaganda narrative questioning the Ukrainian statehood. Ukraine is a well-defined nation-state that has preserved language, literature and identity despite foreign rule for long periods. It is a sovereign state whose borders are guaranteed by international agreements but were violated by Russia, which started a war in Ukraine. The publication uses a derogatory term 'Little Russians' to identify Ukrainians, which derives from imperial Russian and Russian irredentist ideology that is a favoured pro-Kremlin narrative aimed at weakening the national identity of Ukrainians and undermining Ukraine's sovereignty. See also previous narratives claiming that there is no Ukraine, that Belarusians, Russians and Ukrainians are the same nation, and that Ukrainians are Russians, not Ukrainians.

EU is suffering from the sanctions against Russia

Sanctions against Russia are speeding up the suffering of the European economy.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Western sanctions on Russia claiming that they have backfired. Since March 2014, the EU has progressively imposed restrictive measures against Russia. The measures were adopted in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and the deliberate destabilisation of Ukraine.

According to research into the effect of sanctions, the cumulative export loss to Russia during 2014-2018 is estimated at EUR 30 billion (about -0.2% of EU’s GDP in 2018), incurred largely during 2014-2016, as EU exports to Russia recovered in 2017. While these sanctions do effect EU's economy, the EU-wide impacts of the export losses are estimated at less than 0.2% of total value-added and employment.