Conspiracy theorists have been whispering about this since the outbreak became public. Russian scientists, who should know, are saying the same thing.
Full text of Australian Broadcasting Corporation article follows...
Text extracted from: http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/s830628.htm and is copyright 2003 Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Excerpted without permission.
Russian infectious disease experts say Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) may be a man-made biological weapon.
Nikolai Filatov, head of Moscow's epidemiological services, told the Gazeta daily that he thought the pneumonia was man-made because "there is no vaccine for this virus, its make-up is unclear, it has not been very widespread and the population is not immune to it".
Yet he had some reservations, since the virus has a low mortality rate - so far killing 4 per cent of those infected - and because it is relatively difficult to pass on - through direct contact or inhalation.
The virus, according to Academy of Medicine member Sergei Kolesnikov, is a cocktail of mumps and measles, whose mix could never appear in nature.
"We can only get that in a laboratory," he told a conference in the Siberian city of Irkutsk, quoted by RIA Novosti news agency.
It may have spread because of an "accidental leak" from a lab, he said.
More than 100 people have died and some 3,000 others have been infected by SARS, which is believed to have originated in China's southern Guangdong province.