A world renowned Russian microbiologist says that the novel coronavirus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic was the result of Wuhan scientists doing "absolutely crazy things" in their laboratory.
Dr. Peter Chumakov of the Engelhardt Institute of Molecular Biology and Russian Academy of Sciences claims that while the Wuhan scientists' goal in creating the coronavirus was not malicious - instead, they were trying to study the pathogenicity of the virus, according to the Daily Mail.
"In China, scientists at the Wuhan Laboratory have been actively involved in the development of various coronavirus variants for over ten years," he said. "Moreover, they did this, supposedly not with the aim of creating pathogenic variants, but to study their pathogenicity."
"They did absolutely crazy things, in my opinion," he said, adding " For example, inserts in the genome, which gave the virus the ability to infect human cells. Now all this has been analyzed."
'The picture of the possible creation of the current coronavirus is slowly emerging.'
He told Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper: 'There are several inserts, that is, substitutions of the natural sequence of the genome, which gave it special properties.
'It is interesting that the Chinese and Americans who worked with them published all their works in the open (scientific) press.
'I even wonder why this background comes to people very slowly.
'I think that an investigation will nevertheless be initiated, as a result of which new rules will be developed that regulate the work with the genomes of such dangerous viruses.
'It's too early to blame anyone.'
Chumakov suggested that Chinese scientists were possibly searching for an HIV vaccine.
The Mail notes that the professor works for Russia's Federal Research Center for Research and Development of Immunobiological Preparations - while Vladimir Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, advised against speculation that the virus was manmade.
"In the situation where there is not enough information that has been supported and checked by science ... we think it is unacceptable, impossible, to groundlessly accuse anyone," said Peskov.
Meanwhile, the head of Russia's Federal Medical-Biological agency, Veronika Skvortsova, told Russia's Channel One "This question is not that easy. It demands a very thorough study," adding "None of the versions can be ruled out."
"We can see that a fairly large number of fragments distinguishes this virus from its very close relative, SARS," Skvortsova added. "They are approximately 94 per cent similar, the rest is different… I think that we must conduct a very serious research.