Why did the United States government patent an Ebola virus invention? [DETAILS]

by Azubuike Azikiwe

Since the recent outbreak of the Ebola virus in Nigeria, and by an extension, Africa, various theories have been flying around about the source of the virus. The deadly Ebola virus’ first recorded outbreak was in 1976 in Yambuku, Democratic Republic of the Congo (then Zaire), which lies on the Ebola River.

During the course of a research on the virus, it came to fore that the United States federal government actually took out a patent on the Ebola virus (EboBun) in 2010.

The patent application is in the name of, ‘The Government Of The United States Of America As Represented By The Secretary, Department Of Health & Human Services, Center For Disease Control.’

The Centre for Disease Control specifically claims patent protection on a method for propagating the Ebola virus in host cells as well as treating infected hosts with vaccines.

The patent not only grants DHHS and the CDC exclusive ownership of the Ebola strain it extracted from a Ugandan victim, it also claims ownership over all other similar Ebola variations, Ebola treatments, tests, experiments, vaccines and drugs.

The patent filing stated that, ‘This patent may help explain why Ebola victims are being transported to the United States and put under the medical authority of the CDC. These patients are carrying valuable intellectual property assets in the form of Ebola variants, and the Centers for Disease Control clearly desires to expand its patent portfolio by harvesting, studying and potentially patenting new strains or variants.’

The patent summary says, “The invention provides the isolated human Ebola (hEbola) viruses denoted as Bundibugyo (EboBun) deposited with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”; Atlanta, Georgia, United States of America) on November 26, 2007 and accorded an accession number 200706291.”

It goes on to state, “The present invention is based upon the isolation and identification of a new human Ebola virus species, EboBun. EboBun was isolated from the patients suffering from hemorrhagic fever in a recent outbreak in Uganda.”

However, the EboBun is not the same variant currently believed to be circulating in West Africa. From the patent description on the EboBun virus, it is important to know that the U.S. government extracts Ebola viruses from patients, claims to have “invented” that virus, and filed for monopoly patent protection on the virus.

In most cases, the drug patent is awarded for around twenty years in the United States. The lifetime of the patent varies between countries and also between drugs.

Since the company applies for a patent long before the clinical trial to assess a drug’s safety and efficacy has commenced, the effective patent period after the drug has finally received approval is often around seven to twelve years.US_Government_Owns_EBOLA_Patent_Smoking_Gun__182679

Once the patent has expired, the drug can be manufactured and sold by other companies. Once the generic drug is on the market, the monopoly of the patent holder is removed. This encourages competition and results in a significant drop in drug costs, which ensures that life-saving and important drugs reach the general population at comparative prices.

In view of all this, the pertinent question is why would the U.S. government claim to have invented Ebola and then claim an exclusive monopoly over its ownership?

Another question that’s in need of an answer is whether the CDC hopes to collect a royalty on Ebola vaccines and also if it hopes to invent more variants and patent those too?

Although the CDC’s patent on Ebola is partially focused on the methods for screening for Ebola and treating Ebola victims with drugs or vaccines, it beats the imagination as to why the American government would claim to have invented this infectious disease and then claim a monopoly over it.

There just may be more to this Ebola virus outbreak than meets the eye! Who knows?
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