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Watch out for this coronavirus fake news

The claim that coronavirus has been “genetically engineered for efficient spread in humans” is false, a fact checking charity has found.

Scaremongering rag The Daily Express claimed that a study has suggested coronavirus may have been “genetically engineered” to spread among the human population.

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In an article published this week it said: “Coronavirus may have been genetically engineered for the “efficient spreading in the human population,” a bombshell new study has claimed.”

But according to Full Fact, this is wrong and the study categorically did not make these claims.

Writing in a blog, the fact checking charity said: “The study does not claim the new coronavirus has been genetically engineered. It simply compares the genome sequence of SAES-CoV-2 with other coronaviruses, and suggests a reason why it might be spreading relatively efficiently.”

According to Full Fact, the study also said coronavirus has a different DNA sequence to other viruses, which is why it is spreading so quickly. However, the study said this different DNA was natural and not due to tampering.

“The study doesn’t suggest the new coronavirus was deliberately tampered with.”

Professor in biological sciences Ben Neuman added that the paper’s take “is not based on science and appears to be rather inflammatory”.

Spreading fake news about coronavirus is no way to stop the panic. The Daily Express must take responsibility for their actions and retract it.

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