FALSE: DO NOT SHARE
A Nobel Prize-winning scientist says that COVID-19 was created in a laboratory in Wuhan.
False. Professor Honjo has denied making the claim and there is no evidence that he did.
A widely circulated social media post claims that Nobel Prize winning Japanese academic, Professor Tasuku Honjo, has stated that
- COVID-19 was invented at in a laboratory in Wuhan, China
- the coronavirus cannot be a natural virus because if it was, it would only have affected countries with the same climate as China
- he knows this because he worked in the Wuhan laboratory for four years
- the laboratory technicians are now dead.
This is false, and has been denied by Professor Honjo himself. Despite the claims of the post, Dr Honjo has never worked at, nor has he ever been associated with, the Wuhan Institute of Virology – as made clear from his biography available on the website of Kyoto University Institute for Advanced Study (KUIAS). As for the supposed quotation, no credible sources recorded his comments.
Regarding the claims, as we have previously written, COVID-19 is widely thought to have originated in wildlife.
The Kyoto University Institute of Advanced Study, where Professor Honjo is Deputy Director-General and Distinguished Professor, has published an official statement from the Professor:
“In the wake of the pain, economic loss, and unprecedented global suffering caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, I am greatly saddened that my name and that of Kyoto University have been used to spread false accusations and misinformation.
This is a time for all of us, especially those of us devoting our careers to the forefronts of scientific research, to work together to fight this common enemy. We cannot delay one moment in this effort to save the lives of our fellow humans. At this stage, when all of our energies are needed to treat the ill, prevent the further spread of sorrow, and plan for a new beginning, the broadcasting of unsubstantiated claims regarding the origins of the disease is dangerously distracting.
This University devotes itself to furthering the wellbeing of humanity based on a principal of harmonious coexistence with the natural environment. It is my enduring pleasure and honor to support this aim to my fullest. Let us keep our eyes on the highest goals attainable by our species.”
Kyoto University Institute for Advanced Study (KUIAS), ‘Profile – Tasuku Honjo’
Kyoto University for Advanced Study, ‘Statement from Tasuku Honjo on COVID-19’