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Fact Check: Did Noble Laureate Dr Tasuku Honjo Reveal Coronavirus Is Man-made?

Fact check: Recently rumours about renowned immunologist Dr Tasuku Honjo claiming COVID-19 is man-made were going viral, but they have been proven wrong.

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One of the most brilliant minds in the world right now is the Japanese immunologist and physician-scientist Tasuku Honjo. Having a Noble Prize in Physiology or Medicine and a Kyoto Prize in Basic Sciences for successfully finding the mechanisms responsible for the diversification of antibodies, it is only plausible for Dr Tasuku Honjo to share his views about the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. On various instances recently, Dr Tasuku Honjo has talked on lengths about the COVID-19 outbreak and how the curve can be flattened. But, it has now been revealed that various stories on social media and the Internet are using Dr Tasuku Honja's credits and sharing maliciously fake news. 

Also read: AP FACT CHECK: Trump's baseless theories on coronavirus

Claim 

A recently viral message on social media is claiming that Noble Prize Winner Dr Tasuku Honjo has called COVID-19 a man-made virus. The message claims that Dr Honjo said it was evident that the coronavirus outbreak has been pre-planned as natural viruses do not spread so fast and travel across countries. Besides this, the message states that Dr Tasuku Honjo was associated with the Wuhan laboratory for four years and is acquainted with the staff, but hasn't been able to contact any of the scientists there as their phones are not active, claiming that the scientists in the Wuhan laboratory have died. 

Also read: Fact Check: Did Donald Trump advise injecting people with disinfectant to fight COVID-19?

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Rating - FALSE

In his recent interviews, Dr Tasuku Honjo has only talked about the importance of flattening the curve of the coronavirus and how countries should abide by a pro-active approach to ensure the virus can be dealt with effectively. He has been voicing his thoughts and also criticizing various countries for prioritising their economies over people's lives but Dr Tasuku Honjo hasn't spoken about the origin of the virus in any way. A quick glance through his official website can prove furthermore that the immunologist did not have any collaborations with the Wuhan Laboratory either. 

Origin 

The viral message first found its way to the WhatsApp messenger, which time after time has proven to be an easy platform for fake news spreaders to do their job. Once the fake piece of news went viral on WhatsApp, it quickly caught on to other social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Check it out below - 

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Google Trends analysis

As the fake news about Dr Tasuku Honjo's claims on the coronavirus outbreak started going viral on the internet. People started searching behind the credibility of this news on Google. This resulted in a surge of Google searches about the same. Check it out below - 

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Also read: Fact check: Did the US state of Missouri sue China over the Coronavirus outbreak?

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