FALSE: DO NOT SHARE
COVID-19 is an engineered bioweapon containing ‘HIV insertions’.
False. COVID-19 is thought to have originated in wildlife and was not engineered in a lab.
A video on YouTube claims that the coronavirus is a bioweapon, engineered to have “HIV insertions’’. The video claims that similarities between coronavirus and HIV, and the fact that it can be treated by HIV medications, indicates that it is a deliberately engineered bioweapon.
This claim is fueled by an unpublished, and non peer-reviewed, scientific paper uploaded to bioRxiv on January 31 entitled ‘Uncanny similarity of unique inserts in the 2019-nCoV spike protein to HIV-1 gp120 and Gag’. The paper is quoted directly in the video. The scientists suggest there is a similarity in the genome of HIV and coronavirus. The paper was picked up by website ZeroHedge with the headline ‘Coronavirus Contains ‘HIV Insertions,’ Stoking Fears Over Artificially Created Bioweapon’.
This is false. There are no ‘HIV insertions’ in coronavirus, and there are no signs of engineering in the genome. As we have previously written, it was not created as a Chinese bioweapon. Scientists, such as Kristian Andersen, the director of infectious disease genomics at the Scripps Research Translational Institute, Arinjay Banerjee PhD, postdoctoral fellow in virology at McMaster University, and Philippe Lacoud PhD in the European Scientist, critiqued the original study, pointing to methodological flaws and a misunderstanding of the analysis and results. The paper was voluntarily withdrawn by the authors after two days.
It is not yet confirmed if coronavirus responds to HIV medications. The British HIV Association states that while “there have been headlines about using the HIV drug lopinavir/ritonavir (uncommonly used for treatment in the UK) to treat coronavirus’ there is ‘no good evidence yet that it will work. The drugs used for PrEP are not active against coronavirus.”
Origins of Claim
FULL TEXT OF CLAIM
“A respected epidemiologist… is pointing out irregularities in the virus’s genome that suggest it might have been genetically engineered for the purposes of a weapon. And not just any weapon, but the deadliest weapon of them all. In uncanny similarity of unique inserts in the 2019-nCoV spike protein to HIV-1 gp120 and Gag, Indian researchers are baffled by segments of the virus’s RNA that have no relation to other coronaviruses like SARs, and instead appear to be closer to HIV. The virus even responds to treatment by HIV medications. Interesting. Very interesting to say the least… talk about weaponizing something.”