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For the last several weeks, a number of well-educated people have been telling me that COVID-19 is not new and was actually patented in 2015. “WTF?!” I thought. So I went down the rabbit hole to figure it out. Reminder, even smart people are stupid.
In 2015, Gilead Science patented a drug called remdesivir. It was designed to fight Ebola, MERS, and other coronaviruses, according to the patent. In January of 2020, the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which is where a lot of people believe COVID-19 came from through an accidental release, filed a patent under an international patent treaty.
The Wuhan Institute of Virology waited until China had publicly admitted the extent of the epidemic, then claimed it might have found something.
It appears the Wuhan Institute of Virology stole the chemical composition of Gilead Science’s drug and repackaged it as a potential cure or drug to use against COVID-19.So Gilead Science had to update its patent in January to make clear remdesivir could be used in the treatment of COVID-19.
As a result, conspiracists saw Gilead’s patent filing and presumed it had patented COVID-19 in 2015. It had done no such thing. But it had to preserve its legal claims when China tried to steal what it had developed.
That required updating its 2015 patent in 2020 and connecting its drug to COVID-19. The conspiracy theorists latched on to that and started circulating Instagram videos, Facebook memes, and other social media postings claiming COVID-19 was patented in 2015.