A statement allegedly made by Professor Tasuku Honjo, Japan’s Nobel prize winning Professor of Medicine, that Coronavirus (COVID-19) is not natural has gone viral on social media.
But did Honjo say so?
Honjo, co-winner of Nobel Medicine Prize in 2018, was quoted as saying: “If it is natural, it wouldn’t have adversely affected the entire world like this. Because, as per nature, temperature is different in different countries. If it is natural, it would adversely affect only those countries having the same temperature as China.
“Instead, it is spreading in a country like Switzerland, in the same way it is spreading in the desert areas. Whereas if it were natural, it would have spread in cold places, but died in hot places.
“I have done 40 years of research on animals and viruses. It is not natural. It is manufactured and the virus is completely artificial. I have worked for 4 years in the Wuhan laboratory in China.
“I am fully acquainted with all the staff of that laboratory. I have been phoning them all, after the Coronavirus surfaced. But all their phones are dead for the last 3 months. It is now understood that all these lab technicians have died.
“Based on all my knowledge and research till date, I can say this with 100% confidence – That the Coronavirus is not natural. It did not come from bats. China manufactured it.
“If what I am saying today is proved false now or even after my death, the government can withdraw my Nobel Prize. China is lying and this truth will one day be revealed to everyone.”
The post was first made on Facebook by Mir Monaz Haque late on Friday.
Haque is a Bangladeshi based in Germany.
Facebook has already flagged the post as fake.
However, when NewsMeter reached out to the professor, he refuted all the claims. In an e-mail, a Ph.D student working under the professor, gave out this statement in behalf of the professor:
“Prof. Honjo never gave any such statement. Each and every sentence of this post is completely false and has no connection with truth. Prof. Honjo never worked in Wuhan laboratory. He never called there. He did not work on virus origin and functions and other related issues. All the contents are just concocted and nothing else.”
As claimed in the viral message, Professor Tasuku Honjo, has not worked in any laboratory in Wuhan, China, for the past four years.
His biography, accessed from Kyoto University’s official website, showed that the professor has been teaching full-time in Japan’s Kyoto University, from 1984 to 2005.
Currently, he is a professor at the Department of Immunology and Genomic Medicine, Kyoto University.
Secondly, a Google search on media reports after April 22 (the date of the message) regarding the statement ‘coronavirus is not natural’ did not yield any results leading to Professor Tasuku Hanjo.
In fact, the professor gave an interview to Nikkei Asian Review, a news portal based in Japan, published on April 10, 2020.
The professor said in the interview that “the illness originated in China, but the country will be the first to recover from it, too. I can’t say whether this will boost Chinese influence or whether the world will shun China, but there’s a possibility that the global order will shift after the outbreak.”
The professor did not mention anything regarding COVID-19 being a man-made virus.
Amrith Mohan first published this newsmeter.in