Moscow, December 20: Coronavirus that causes COVID-19 infection is of natural origin, Rinat Maksyutov, who heads Russia's Vector Research Centre of Virology and Biotechnology, has said. Rinat Maksyutov's remarks assume significance because Vector Research Centre of Virology and Biotechnology has developed EpiVacCorona, a vaccine against COVID-19 infection. Maksyutov dismissed the idea that the virus could be man-made. COVID-19 Vaccine Latest News: Russia's Vector, Which Created EpiVacCorona, Developing 3 More Vaccines.

"I believe that the novel coronavirus is not a technical invention by man. Analysis of all the genomes shows that it is a product, the result of classical viral evolution in nature," Maksyutov told the state broadcaster Rossiya-1, Sputnik News reported. To back his argument, he underlined that there are many coronaviruses similar to SARS-Cov 2 that circulate in nature but do not infect humans. Russia registered Vector's COVID-19 vaccine EpiVacCorona in October.

The vaccine is a peptide synthetic vaccine. A peptide synthetic vaccine mimics certain parts of the pathogen they are designed to protect from, compelling the human body to produce antigens capable of fighting the original virus. Maksyutov's observations came days after Birger Sorensen, a Norwegian virologist, claimed that the coronavirus is man-made and was leaked "accidentally" from a laboratory.

"I firmly believe that it was spread by accident. When US authorities conducted an inspection in Wuhan in 2018, it was described as a risk lab," Sorensen was quoted as saying by the Swedish news outlet Fria Tider. "There are many laboratories that have botched it and released viruses by mistake. The original Sars virus was released from Singapore," he added.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Dec 20, 2020 04:15 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website