Sunday, January 26, 2020

Claims of Wuhan virus created in a lab, patented and has a vaccine are bogus


PETALING JAYA: Several social media posts are spreading bogus conspiracy theory in regards to the Wuhan coronavirus (2019-nCoV), allegedly claiming that the virus was patented, with its vaccine readily available.
The posts claimed that there was a patent for the coronavirus which was filed in 2015 and granted in 2018. Some even suggested that it was made in a lab along with its vaccine.
According to a report on FactCheck.org — one of several organisations working with Facebook to debunk misinformation shared on social media — these claims are not true as the referred patents pertain to different viruses.
The report highlighted that all of the posts linked to patents that are related to two different viruses in the coronavirus family.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), on its website, explains that coronaviruses are a group of viruses that tend to cause respiratory illnesses in humans and a variety of other illnesses in animals.
The name comes from the crown, or corona-like appearance of infective viruses when seen under a microscope.
One patent is for a genetic sequence of the virus that causes SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, a disease that spread to dozens of countries in 2003.
Matthew Frieman, a coronavirus researcher at the University of Maryland, was quoted saying that “the sequencing was done at the CDC during the SARS outbreak and they were the ones that filed the patent.”
The other supposedly related patent is for a mutated form of avian infectious bronchitis virus (IBV), which infects poultry, but not people. The patent was filed by the Pirbright Institute, a research institute in the UK that aims to prevent and control “viral diseases of livestock.”
“Neither of these has anything to do with the new 2019-nCoV virus, ” said Frieman. “This is clearly a bogus theory that this virus was created in a lab, patented and has a vaccine already made to it.”
At press time, neither the patent related to the new virus nor a vaccine is currently available for the new coronavirus as researchers are still working to understand the origin, spread and severity of the Wuhan virus.
As of Saturday (Jan 25), the Health Ministry has so far confirmed four cases of novel coronavirus infection in Malaysia.

Wan Azizah chairing high-level emergency meeting on Wuhan virus


PUTRAJAYA: A high-level emergency meeting to discuss the Wuhan coronavirus in the country is being chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail at her office here.
Also present at the meeting on Sunday (Jan 26) were Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo, Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah, Health Ministry director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, Immigration director-general Datuk Seri Khairul Dzaimee Daud and Deputy Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Muhammad Bakhtiar Wan Chik.
So far, there are four confirmed cases of the Wuhan coronavirus within the country.
On Jan 24, three China nationals from Wuhan tested positive for the virus. The three infected were relatives of a 66-year-old man from Wuhan who recently tested positive for the new viral strain in Singapore.
On Saturday (Jan 25), the fourth case of coronavirus was detected in Malaysia after a 40-year-old man from Wuhan arrived in Johor Baru on Wednesday (Jan 22) via bus from Singapore.

Wuhan virus: King, Queen urge M'sians to take care of health, safety


KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama): The Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah has called on Malaysians to take their safety and health as a priority, following the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in several countries, including Malaysia.
Al-Sultan Abdullah and Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Hajah Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandriah, who expressed concern over the detection of four cases in Malaysia as of Saturday (Jan 25) said, the people, especially those living or travelling to areas currently experiencing cases of the 2019-nCoV should take precautions and comply to directives issued by the local authorities.
Comptroller of the Royal Family and Household Datuk Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin said both Their Majesties urged the people to take the initiative to better understand the epidemic and to follow the advice and preventive measures as outlined by the Ministry of Health (MOH).
"This includes maintaining a high level of personal hygiene such as frequently washing their hands with water and soap, using hand sanitiser and to always be equipped with face mask,” the Istana Negara statement said on Sunday (Jan 26).
He said the royal couple also encouraged the public to keep abreast with news on the outbreak, by reading on the latest information distributed by the Health Ministry through various channels.
Al-Sultan Abdullah also advised Malaysians to always refer to the Malaysian Health and Foreign Affairs ministries of the latest decision by the People's Republic of China on Jan 23, to extend the suspension of outbound travel to seven other cities, besides Wuhan in Hubei province.
The cities are Huanggang, Ezhou, Chibi, Xiantao, Qianjiang, Zhijiang and Lichuan.
To date, the MOH has confirmed four Chinese nationals who had entered Malaysia through Johor from Singapore were tested positive for 2019-nCoV.
Their Majesties also expressed their gratitude and appreciation for the prompt action and continuous monitoring carried out by the MOH of Malaysia and Singapore as well as the World Health Organisation (WHO) in ensuring that prevention and control measures were effectively implemented.
Al-Sultan Abdullah and Tunku Azizah also congratulated the Ministry of Foreign Affairs particularly the Malaysian Embassy in Beijing for setting up an Emergency Response Team to reach out to Malaysians in the affected areas, other Malaysian diplomatic missions in Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Kunming, Nanning, Shanghai and Xi'an as well as the Malaysian Friendship and Trade Centre in Taipei.
Ahmad Fadil said Al-Sultan Abdullah also expressed hope that the country's Rapid Response Team (RRT) and Rapid Assessment Team (RAT) would be strengthened to conduct contact-tracking and screening of international flight passengers at all Malaysian airports.
In a related development, Their Majesties also regretted the actions of several irresponsible parties who had issued false statements, which were later made viral by others, without checking on the facts.
Ahmad Fadil said both Their Majesties hoped that every Malaysian would play their role in not creating unnecessary panic among the people, or disturbing the peace by disseminating information that has not been verified or was likely to spark controversy.
"Their Majesties urge the people to give their full cooperation to the Ministry of Health and to avoid any action that could disrupt the duties of any health worker," he said.- Bernama