That’s according to identical Facebook posts circulating in several African countries since 12 May 2020. One of them has been viewed over 3 million times, and shared by more than 19,000 users.
“I would like to tell all Africans that the coronavirus was created by the United States and China with the aim of destroying Africa, they have proposed more than 30 million of the deaths of this pandemic in Africa,” the posts quote Raoult as saying.
Raoult, a physician and microbiologist, is the director of the faculty of medicine at Aix-Marseilles University and the Institut Hospitalo-Universitaire Méditerranée Infection. Both are in Marseille, France.
He and a team of French researchers published limited clinical research that suggested the anti-malaria drug chloroquine could be an effective treatment for Covid-19. He has since promoted its use in the fight against the coronavirus.
We found in a previous fact-check that chloroquine is still under investigation for efficacy against Covid-19. The FDA has also published a warning for the drug as it has not been proven effective against the disease and has been linked to abnormal heart rhythms.
The posts also claim Raoult said the US and China had “created powerful laboratories, in complicity with Bill Gates and Melinda”, where they were preparing a new, deadlier virus.
Did Raoult really give this warning? We checked.
'I did not say that' - Raoult
The Facebook posts don’t give a source for the quote, or say when and where Raoult said it.
A Google search reveals that no reputable media outlet has reported what would have been a controversial quote by a high-profile medical researcher. And the claim does not appear on Raoult’s verified Twitter account.
Africa Check contacted Raoult about the claim. He said it was false.
“No, I did not say that,” he said.
Current research indicates that there is no evidence to support the theory that Covid-19 was deliberately created in a lab.
French physician and microbiologist Didier Raoult did not say that Covid-19 was created by the US and China to kill millions of Africans. – Naledi Mashishi
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