Professor of virology dispels conspiracy theories around coronavirus

28 February 2020, 16:19

With conspiracy theories emerging about coronavirus, this professor felt compelled to phone in to LBC to dispel some of the more extreme myths about the superbug.

Professor Stuart Neil dispelled an earlier caller's fear that coronavirus was a lab-made superbug that was spread to the population deliberately.

"There is absolutely no evidence of that and people need to put that idea to bed fairly swiftly," said Professor Neil, "these conspiracy theories tend to spread around a lot when we get situations like this.

"It happened with HIV and other nasty viruses that have come into the human population. I think it's important for people to bear in mind that viruses skip from animals to humans all the time by the very nature of our interactions with them."

Coronavirus, the strain of which is known as COVID-19, is a bug thought to originate in bats.

The professor said that most bugs that transfer from animals to humans don't go anywhere because they don't replicate well in people.

"This is a coronavirus which is very like SARS...it's part of a wider family of viruses that we've known for a while," he said, and told Shelagh that it is unclear whether this virus may present itself in other mammals such as livestock.

Ultimately scientists understand that the virus will leave little impact to most people and those with a vulnerable immune system are at most risk.

More Shelagh Fogarty News

See more More Shelagh Fogarty News

Homeless caller's heartbreaking story leaves LBC listeners in tears

Homeless caller's heartbreaking story leaves LBC listeners in tears

'Disgusted' caller blasts 'idiotic' Govt for inaction over 'obscene' energy price hike

'Disgusted' caller blasts 'idiotic' Govt for inaction over 'obscene' energy price hike

'You're ovaryacting': Caller who miscarried shares 'hurtful' treatment by medics and family

'You're ovaryacting': Caller who miscarried shares 'hurtful' treatment by medics and family

'I can't be subsidising people': Landlord fumes over lost income amid cost of living crisis

'I can't be subsidising people': Landlord fumes over lost income amid cost of living crisis

'Officers have largely given up policing public spaces', says ex-constable, as crime rates soar

'Officers have largely given up policing public spaces', says ex-constable

Welder fears that extreme heatwave will kill his colleagues

Welder fears that extreme heatwave will kill his colleagues

'Tories are obsessed with which toilet people use - constituents aren't'

'Tories are obsessed with which toilet people use - constituents aren't'

'It's disgraceful': Landlord is turned into renter by sky-high London rent costs

'It's disgraceful': Landlord is turned into renter by sky-high London rent costs

Tessa Jowell Foundation CEO wants people to relive 'magic' of London 2012 Olympics

Tessa Jowell Foundation CEO wants people to relive 'magic' of London 2012 Olympics

Liz Truss is 'a bit crackers' and 'pretending to be Thatcher' says Matthew Parris

Liz Truss is 'a bit crackers' and 'pretending to be Thatcher', ex-Tory MP says

Airport recruiter explains how Brexit staff shortages are causing travel chaos

Brexit staff shortages are causing travel chaos, explains aviation expert

Tory MP: 'We'll support Johnson if Labour puts forward no confidence vote'

Tory MP: 'We'll support Johnson if Labour puts forward no confidence vote'

Chris Bryant demands Tories boot out Boris and install caretaker PM

Chris Bryant demands Tories boot out Boris and install caretaker PM

Journalist lifts lid on shocking culture of sexual harassment in Westminster

Journalist lifts lid on shocking culture of sexual harassment in Westminster

'Horrific': LBC listeners reveal chilling experiences of stalking

'Horrific': LBC listeners reveal chilling experiences of stalking

Shelagh Fogarty blasts proposal to tax the childless - 'A tax on your womb!'

Shelagh Fogarty blasts proposal to tax the childless - 'A tax on your womb!'