Disinfo: US created the Coronavirus in 2015 and named it SHC014

Summary

A report published by the American magazine “Nature”, known for its seriousness, adds “insult to injury” regarding the COVID-19 Coronaviurs. The report published on the 12th of November 2015 states that US scientists created a hybrid version of a coronavirus for bats related with a virus that causes SARS, called “SHC014” in a laboratory.

Disproof

Conspiracy theory about the 2019-nCoV coronavirus.

There is no basis to the claim that 2019-nCoV coronavirus was man-made. Volume 9 medical Journal “Emerging Microbes & Infections” published a study in 2020 entitled “No credible evidence supporting claims of the laboratory engineering of SARS-CoV-2” in which rumours about the epidemic being constructed inside laboratories are clearly dismissed. Regarding the 2015 study mentioned in the article, this is also addressed in the medical Journal as follows:

“Another claim in Chinese social media points to a Nature Medicine paper published in 2015, which reports the construction of a chimeric CoV with a bat CoV S gene (SHC014) in the backbone of a SARS CoV that has adapted to infect mice (MA15) and is capable of infecting human cells. However, this claim lacks any scientific basis and must be discounted because of significant divergence in the genetic sequence of this construct with the new SARS-CoV-2 (>5,000 nucleotides)”.

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  • Reported in: Issue 190
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 22/03/2020
  • Outlet language(s) Arabic
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: US
  • Keywords: coronavirus, Virus / bacteria threat, Biological weapons, Conspiracy theory
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There is not a single example of disinformation coming from Russian media

On March 16th 2020, the European External Action Service published a report namely accusing Russia of spreading disinformation, to lower the confidence of Western citizens in their state and public health system. The report did not include a single example of disinformation and was published for internal political goals. Since the EU and national state failed to address the health crisis caused by the coronavirus, Russia was used as a scapegoat to distract the attention of Europeans. Russia is used as a scapegoat in the West for many issues such as elections, climate change, coronavirus….

Disproof

Recurring narrative from the Kremlin and editors of Russian state media claiming that the EEAS did not give any examples of disinformation. The cases the report referred to are listed in this very database, documenting the most common disinformation narratives and examples in many different languages by pro-Kremlin media: more than two hundred are on the coronavirus. The EEAS did not publish a report accusing Russia of spreading disinformation on March 16th. However, some parts of an internal report were leaked to news agencies and were subsequently commented on by the Kremlin. The report itself included several examples of disinformation. A shorter version of the original report was published on March 19th on the EUvsDisinfo website. It summarises the trends of disinformation narratives about COVID-19 for different audiences. An update was published on April 1st.

COVID-19 is a fake, it's a political move to install hegemony

COVID-19 is a fake, it’s a common and not deadly virus. All those deaths in Italy cannot be because of the coronavirus. It’s a political move to destroy small businesses and install deep state hegemony. US is adopting fascist measures to limit people’s freedom.

Disproof

An unfounded conspiracy theory, sharing a recurrent pro-Kremlin narrative about "secret elites" controlling world leaders. COVID-19 comes from a family of viruses originating in animals that include other viruses such as SARS and MERS. It was first reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan in central China and has been rapidly spreading across the world, with cases being reported in 190 countries, territories and areas. The number of COVID-19 cases surpassed 300,000 globally with over 14,000 deaths (with 5,476 only in Italy) by 23 March 2020. Many other claims have been pushed by pro-Kremlin media since the outbreak started in January, for example, that governments overestimate the threat, that it was born in a laboratory to infect Chinese, that it is an element of hybrid warfare and that the remedy has been developed in Ukraine.

Latvia protects Nazi criminals

Due to coronavirus the march of Latvian SS legionnaires was cancelled. At the same time, Russia has announced the names of 96 Nazis criminals from Latvia who are alive and respected in Latvia. They managed to avoid responsibility by hiding in Nazi-loyal states.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Nazi/Fascist Baltic states, consistent with broader efforts of historical revisionism, to whitewash the role of the Soviet Union in the WW2. For more information about the March 16 events in Latvia read here. See related disinformation cases alleging that the Baltic States laugh at the memory of those who perished in Holocaust; that Nazis are in power in Latvia; that the Baltic authorities associate themselves with Hitler.