No, China does not hold the patent for drug remdesivir

No, China does not hold the patent for drug remdesivir

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A WhatsApp message claims that the patent for the drug remdesivir is held by China and Dr. Anthony Fauci, Bill Gates will profit from this drug. The claims are false.

By Nabeela Khan

Anti-viral drug remdesivir has recently been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat COVID-19. The drug has got a lot of attention and many more claims about it.

One such claim which we received on Whatsapp and is getting wide popularity is that “the patent for Remdesivir is currently held by China through an agreement with Gilead’s drug patent sharing subsidiary, called UNITAID.”

We researched online and found that Gilead, a California-based biopharmaceutical company, owns the patent globally. Gilead got its first patent for the drug in 2017 when the company was originally targeting it as a possible treatment for the Ebola virus. No Chinese institution has a recognised patent for the drug.

“UNITAID just happens to have an office near Wuhan, CHINA!”

“Can you guess who some major investors in UNITAID might be? You don't know?

Well, how about none other than George Soros, Bill & Melinda Gates, and WHO”, the post continues.

Unitaid is an international organization that invests in innovations to prevent, diagnose, and treat HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria more quickly, affordably, and effectively. It does not have an office in China. It operates from its office located in Geneva, Switzerland.

Unitaid’s “About Us” mentions that it “is a hosted partnership of the World Health Organization” and states that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is the main donor but there is no mention of financial support from WHO. The About us page of Unitaid has no mention of financial support from George Soros or Fauci as well.

The message further mentions, “Well, here’s another coincidence. Both Gilead Sciences & UNITAID were financial backers of Hillary Clinton in the last election.”

It further claims, “Dr. Fauci’s wife works for Gilead Sciences?   Just coincidences!  Nothing to see here folks, just keep moving along. It’s no wonder Dr. Fauci slapped down hydroxychloroquine, inexpensive, been around 60+ years, proven safety record, even though its success rate was very favorable. Why? Because he was told to!! The news media backed him up all the way! It’s amazing what you find when you follow the money!!”

This claim is also false. Dr. Fauci's wife Dr. Christine Grady doesn't work for Gilead. She is a nurse-bioethicists who is currently Chief of the Department of Bioethics at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Center.

All the above claims are false, as Gilead Sciences is the only organization which is legally allowed to profit from the sale of remdesivir. No other organisation or person is legally involved or is entitled to any kind of profits.

Geroge Soros, Bill Gates and Dr. Anthony Fauci are not involved in the development of the drug or promotion of it. They may have spoken positively about the drug but have also cautioned that the drug is only to be used in critically ill patients.