If there’s one thing on everyone’s mind right now it’s the coronavirus.
With the whole world at a standstill, people are speculating about how this pandemic came to be, with over a million people already infected and thousands of lives being claimed by the day.
Early reports indicated that COVID-19 first appeared at a food market in Wuhan, China, and was sourced back to bats.
But a number of conspiracy theories are pointing fingers at American scientist Charles Lieber as the person responsible for the creation and spread of the virus.
The theory says that the 60-year-old created the virus and sold it to China, with a video even starting to circulate online claiming he has been arrested in relation to the illness.
Those rumours, however, were a hoax.
Lieber has been arrested, though the reason for that has nothing to do with the coronavirus.
The allegations don’t stop there, though.
Some even suggest he’s a Chinese spy looking to destabilise the United States.
So, who is Charles Lieber and why has he been arrested?
Lieber was a director of the chemical biology department at Harvard University and he specialised in nano science between 1991 and 2011.
In 2013 he became a ‘Strategic Scientist’ at Wuhan University of Technology and reportedly participated in a program focusing on the recruitment of foreign researchers, though he confessed in 2018 that he was never part of that program.
Lieber has been accused of lying about his ties to the Chinese government.
The New York Times reported that he received up to 50,000 US dollars a month and 150,000 dollars a year from the Chinese university and the Beijing government to build a laboratory in Wuhan.
At the same time, his research team at Harvard had 15 million dollars invested in them from the American National Institute of Health (NIH) and the Department of Defence.
His arrest for the alleged theft of intellectual property is part of a US operation around Chinese scientists working at or visiting US universities, but nothing to do with the creation of a virus.
As of today, it’s not confirmed whether the virus’ origins are natural or man-made, although research indicates the former.