Nobel Prize-winning virologist Luc Montagnier believes COVID-19 was developed in Wuhan laboratory

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Paris: A Nobel Prize-winning French virologist has said he believes that the COVID-19  was developed in a laboratory in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

Wuhan is the Chinese city from where the disease is believed to have originated.

Luc Montagnier, who had won the Nobel Prize for the discovery of HIV in 2008, said the COVID-19 does not have a natural origin.

“It [the virus] is of artificial origin, it is the work of molecular biologists,” Montagnier said in an interview with Pourquoi docteur newspaper as quoted by Sputnik news agency.

The scientist said the Wuhan laboratory specialized in these coronaviruses since the early 2000s and its employees had expertise in this area.

The reports that the virus originated in the so-called wet market in China is “a beautiful legend,” as COVID-19 was developed in the laboratory, he was quoted as saying.

COVID-19 has now spread across different parts of the world.

Meanwhile, China registered 16 coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, 33 more people have recovered from COVID-19 in the same period, while the death toll remains the same as a day ago, the country’s National Health Commission said on Sunday, reported Sputnik news agency.

Out of the 16 new cases, nine are imported. According to the commission, China now has 82,735 confirmed coronavirus cases. The country’s death toll is 4,632; over 77,000 COVID-19 patients have been released from hospitals.

China registered 44 asymptomatic coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, three of them imported.

On Saturday, China’s health authorities said 17 new imported cases of COVID-19 and 10 new cases of internal transmission had been registered, with no new deaths reported.