The Chinese government has been circulating claims, originating from an advisor to the European Union's top foreign diplomat, that Covid-19 was manufactured in an American laboratory.
World-renowned economist, Professor Jeffrey Sachs, asserted his views at a recent press conference, outlining how he was "pretty convinced" Covid-19 originated out of a facility in the US.
His comments were favoured by the Chinese government, who joyfully circulated claims, sparking mounting questions over his role as a specialist adviser to Josep Borrell, the head of the EU's foreign affairs wing.
The Professor spoke at an event in June, with footage of the address swiftly being shared by China's embassy in Paris.
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The world-renowned economist asserted: "I’m pretty convinced it came out of a US lab of biotechnology, not out of nature after two years of intensive work on this.
“So it’s a blunder, in my view, of biotech, not an accident of a natural spillover.”
His controversial comments followed the emergence that Professor Sachs played a monumental role in assisting and scrutinising global government's responses to the pandemic, chairing the Lancet Covid-19 Commission.
Twice named in Time magazine's list of the 100 most influential people in the world, the academic has adopted the nickname of "China's apologist in chief" after taking Beijing's opinion on the Uyghur genocide and its place in the world.
The economist also sparked a backlash following his siding with Russia President Vladimir Putin, in regard to halting NATO's expansion.
The contentious Professor now works as an adviser to Mr Borrell, focusing primarily on challenges relating to policy and international cooperation, with countries such as China and Russia.
German MEP, Nicolaus Fest, responded to comments from Prof Sachs, saying: "Borrell has been regularly taking specialist advice from a mouthpiece of the Chinese government, all while lecturing us on the dangers of foreign interference.
"This shows that Borrell is not only a foolish hypocrite, but also dangerous incompetent.
“It's clear that Sachs is not a special adviser, but rather a puppet of the Communist regime."
A spokesman for Mr Borrell told the Telegraph that Professor Sachs was an "external unpaid adviser" opposed to a formal EU official.
The spokesman added: "External advisers are external, independent personalities.
"They therefore do not speak for Mr Borrell, nor for the Commission.