FALSE: DO NOT SHARE

Claim:

A Nobel Prize-winning scientist says that COVID-19 was created in a laboratory in Wuhan.

Answer:

False. Professor Honjo has denied making the claim and there is no evidence that he did.

FURTHER INFORMATION

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.”

SOURCES

Kyoto University Institute for Advanced Study (KUIAS), ‘Profile – Tasuku Honjo’

Kyoto University for Advanced Study, ‘Statement from Tasuku Honjo on COVID-19’

Origins of Claim

FULL TEXT OF CLAIM

“The Japanese professor of physiology or medicine, Professor Dr Tasuku Honjo, caused a sensation today in the media by saying that the corona virus is not natural.  if it is natural, it will not have affected the whole world like that.  Because, depending on the nature, the temperature is different in different countries.  if it were natural, it would only have affected countries with the same temperature as China.  instead, it spreads to a country like Switzerland, the same way it spreads to desert areas.  whereas if it were natural, it would have spread in cold places, but would have 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 been working for 4 years in the Wuhan laboratory in China.  I know all the staff of this laboratory well.  I called them all after the Corona accident.  but, all of their phones have been dead for 3 months.  It is now understood that all of these laboratory technicians are dead.

β€˜Based on all of my knowledge and research to date, I can say this with 100% confidence that Corona is not natural.  It did not come from bats.  China made it.  if what I say today turns out to be false now or even after I die, the government can withdraw my Nobel Prize.  but China is lying and this truth will one day be revealed to all”

FALSE: DO NOT SHARE