There were some posts about the claim on social media and then on the news websites such as Yeni Akit and Beyaz Gazete. According to the claim, the professor said that the new virus is man-made, he couldn’t reach the scientists whom he worked with for 4 years in Wuhan and thought they died and added that the new coronavirus is not transmitted through bats and he would give the Nobel award back if proven otherwise.
Professor Tasuku Honjo and James Allison got the Nobel prize in Medicine for their discovery of cancer therapy by inhibition of negative immune regulation in 2018. He is still working in the Immunology and Genomic Medicine Department at Kyoto University, Japan.
You can see the current CV of the professor on the official website of Kyoto University. According to this, he has not worked for 4 years in Wuhan.
The claims do not specify the date and place of the statement given by the professor. When the name of the professor is searched by the relevant keywords, no explanation can be found to support the claims. There are no relevant statements in the interviews that Honjo has made since the beginning of the epidemic.
The statement of Honjo was shared on the official website of the Kyoto University on 27 April due to the misleading claims about him. Professor denied all claims.
News Meter, the India-based fact-checker site, also reached Honja for its 25 April analysis. According to the statement made by his assistant Alok Kumar, who is a Ph.D. student in the same department, the claims are not correct. Kumar said that Honjo never worked in Wuhan and did not work on the coronavirus origin.
A Twitter account, called Honjo, has some tweets about this. However, the account was created on 24 April 2020 and there is nothing if it is real or not. Also, Alok Kumar said this account does not belong to Honjo on the mail sent to News Meter.
Since the Covid-19 outbreak began to spread, there have been claims that the outbreak is an experiment, the virus was produced in the laboratory as a biological weapon and patented. Many of these claims were analyzed by many fact-checker platforms around the world. The available scientific data and the explanations of the health authorities show that the virus has been transmitted through animals.
In conclusion, the claim is not true. Honjo does not have any explanation about the studies of the virus in Wuhan. He has never worked in Wuhan. The post in question is an example of fabricated content.
NobelPrize, The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2018, 01 October 2018
NobelPrize, Tasuku Honjo
Kyoto University, Profile: Tasuku Honjo
Kyoto University, Japan, Members of Honjo Lab
Research Gate, Profile: Alok Kumar, Ph.D. in Medicine
NewsMeter, Fact Check: Did Japan’s Nobel laureate professor say COVID-19 is a man-made virus?, 25 April 2020
Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine, Tasuku Honjo CV, and Selected Publications
Kyoto University, Statement from Tasuku Honjo on COVID-19, 27 April 2020
Mainichi, Japanese customs: a guide in brave new coronavirus world?, 19 April 2020
TaiwanNews, Japan Nobel laureate says follow Taiwan in coronavirus battle, 14 April 2020
Nikkei, Nobel laureate says central command a must to beat pandemics, 10 April 2020
Factly, Nobel laureate Tasuku Honjo hasn’t claimed that ‘coronavirus is man-made’, 25 April 2020
check4spam, [SPAM] Japanese Professor Tasuku Honjo Says COVID-19 Is Not Natural, 26 April 2020
MalditoBulo, No, Tasuku Honjo, Nobel de Medicina, no ha dicho que el coronavirus haya sido creado por el ser humano, 28 April 2020
Snopes, Did Nobel Laureate Tasuku Honjo Say COVID-19 Was ‘Man-Made’?, 27 April 2020
NobelPrize, Luc Montagnier Nobel Lecture
Reuters, France says no evidence COVID-19 linked to Wuhan research lab, 17 April 2020
abc.net, No, coronavirus is not a bioweapon, and other COVID-19 misinformation, 26 April 2020
Poytner, The CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance Database, 2020
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Translation: Hilal Ebru Yakar