New Delhi, March 13, 2020-
Congress member of Parliament Manish Tewari on Friday claimed that coronavirus is a “bioweapon” either accidentally or deliberately released to create terror.
In a tweet, the opposition Congressman called the coronavirus outbreak was an “act of terror”. He, however, did not name any country for the outbreak.
“Coronavirus is a bioweapon that went rogue or was made to go rouge. It is an act of terror,” Tewari, a lawyer, tweeted, demanding that “international investigation be conducted either under the auspices of the International Court of Justice or International Criminal Court.”
This, the Lok Sabha MP said, is “necessary to unearth the truth and bring focus back on eradicating biological weapons.”
Questioned on Twitter by senior journalist Praveen Swami, who pointed out that not a single reputable geneticist at any major university worldwide had backed his claim, Tewari countered: “Has a single reputable geneticist been able to tell you how the mutation of the virus from a bat to a snake took place till the time it was not artificially done?”
The Congress leader based his comment on a news report in UK-based website of Daily Express that quoted Francis Boyle, professor of international law at the University of Illinois who served on the advisory board for the council for responsible genetics and drafted the US legislation for the biological weapons convention.
Boyle has said that coronavirus is a bioweapon that was accidentally leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a level-four biosafety laboratory seven miles from the epicentre of the outbreak.
His claim is based on study titled ‘Coronavirus 2019-nCoV contains a furin-like cleavage site absent in CoV of the same clade’, published by the US government’s reputed National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) in February and also by Science Direct earlier this month.
While Boyle and some other prominent people in the US have accused China of engineering the coronavirus bioweapon, some media outlets in China and Iran, both countries hit badly by the pandemic, have alleged that Covid-19 is a US bioweapon.
In India, Tewari is the first Parliamentarian to back the theory that coronavirus is a bioweapon. But he has refrained from blaming China or the US for it. (Agency)