MOSCOW (XINHUA, AFP) - The novel coronavirus could be associated with a leak from a US biological laboratory, said Vyacheslav Volodin, chairman of Russia's Lower Parliament House the State Duma, on Tuesday (April 27).
"There was a leak from one of those laboratories that they have opened around the world. It would be right if the government of the Russian Federation raises the issue (of responsibility for the Covid-19 outbreak)," Volodin told a session of the Council of Legislators.
"The US laboratories where scientists study, explore and maybe even create new biological weapons are now located in Georgia, in some counties of Eastern Europe. That must be taken under control," he said, according to an official press release.
According to media reports, the United States has set up many bio-labs in 25 countries and regions across the Middle East, Africa, South-east Asia and former Soviet Union, with 16 in Ukraine alone.
Some of the places are believed to have been involved in biological militarization activities.
Previously, a team commissioned by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to investigate the source of the coronavirus in Wuhan in January concluded that it was "extremely unlikely" that the pathogen originated in a top-security lab in the ground-zero Chinese city.
The report found that Covid-19 was most probably first passed to humans from a bat through an intermediary animal, with investigators all but ruling out the laboratory leak theory.
The WHO team's mission to Wuhan included a stop at the Wuhan Institute of Virology's lab, where they met Chinese scientists. The team's leader Dr Peter Ben Embarek said at the end of the mission that the lab-leak theory was "extremely unlikely" and "not in the hypotheses that we will suggest for future studies".
Many scientists think the virus that causes Covid-19 originated in bats and may have jumped to people via another still-undetermined mammal, and gained traction among humans in late 2019 at a wet market in Wuhan where wildlife species were sold as food.