The French expert researcher who caused international headlines when he promoted the merits of hydroxychloroquine – which President Trump recently admitted he is taking – says there is no way that COVID-19 could have been man-made.
The question of whether COVID-19 was developed by humans in a laboratory has been the subject of much speculation of late.
But speaking in an exclusive interview with CGTN – the China Global Television Network, which is owned by state-owned China Central Television – from his medical centre, Didier Raoult, the controversial researcher and microbiologist in the south-eastern French city of Marseille, said: “No one knows how to make a pathogenic virus.”
Pathogen, a term which came into use in the late 19th Century, broadly means an infectious agent.
Raoult told Chinese media that the virus, like all other viral infections until now, was first transmitted from one animal to another before being passed on to humans.
He said: “The most likely hypothesis is that at the beginning, it was a zoonosis.”
Zoonosis refers to diseases that are transmitted to humans from other vertebrate animals and vice versa.
For him, the animals that are the most likely to be the cause of a contagious virus are those that live in “large groups.”
Raoult espouses the bat theory, saying: “There are a lot of viruses and bacteria that come from bats, because they live in very large communities. In a cave, there can be 100,000 bats.”
The expert has been the subject of much controversy since he advocated using hydroxychloroquine on patients with COVID-19, an announcement that made international headlines and led to US President Trump touting it as a ‘miracle cure’ and even recently admitting he was taking it himself.
Raoult has his detractors, but he also has his supporters, such as a man in Marseille called Hugo who recently had a tattoo of the world-famous medical expert tattooed on his leg.
The tattoo artist, who goes by the name Pascal SqualeTattoo, works in Marseille, which is also where Didier Raoult works and the footage shows some foam being cleaned away to reveal the face of the famous researcher.
A red “Made in Marseille” ‘stamp’ can be seen just under the portrait of the famous physician and microbiologist.
According to French news programme C a Vous (which airs on the France 5 TV channel), the man is called Hugo, 29, who lives in Marseille. Hugo was interviewed by them and he said: “We have this man who is at the peak of science, who has the biggest CV in the world and who gets insulted by little GPs on TV shows.
“And he doesn’t even answer back, that’s what’s so great! He couldn’t care less! And me, that’s what I love! Even more than the fact that he found this treatment.”
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