COVID-19 Patent Application Approved November 2019

A patent application for a vaccine to prevent the Novel Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) has been in existence since just after the last viral pandemic, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), was abated, in 2015, has learned. Further, the patent was granted in November last year. The patent was granted to the Pirbright Institute in Surrey, U.K.

Patent No. EP3172319 B1 was filed on July 23, 2015 and the patent was granted on November 11, 2019 according to a European patent filing. The patent application covers SARS-CoV and a similar strain of the virus known as Human Coronavirus or HCoV-HKU1. The patent application specifies that the HCoV-HKU1 virus strain “has no name yet”. At the time of going to press had not yet received a response from the European Patent Office confirming the invention and its inventors. 

The existence of a possible vaccination for COVID-19 calls into question much of the panic that has been the subject of the last two months’ mainstream media reports. Monday, a journalist was overheard on a hot mic in the White House Press Room saying that members of the press “had all been vaccinated [against SARS-CoV-2]”.

An academic paper from 2007 supports the notion that there is a possible vaccine already developed for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which it describes as a form of HCoV-HKU1. The paper also details a brief history of how COVID-19 came into being and came to be understood extremely well by scientists, including the narrative of how the infection stemmed from a bat: 

By infecting healthy volunteers, researchers learned that infection with HCoV-229E or HCoV-OC43 results in a common cold (7, 8, 29), and since then, HCoVs have been considered to be relatively harmless respiratory pathogens. This image was roughly disturbed when severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-CoV was introduced into the human population in the winter of 2002 to 2003 in China. SARS-CoV causes a severe respiratory illness with high morbidity and mortality (16, 40). The virus originated from a wild-animal reservoir, most likely bats (43, 46), and was transmitted to humans via infected civet cats. The epidemic was halted in 2003 by a highly effective global public health response, and SARS-CoV is not currently circulating in humans. However, the SARS outbreak brought coronaviruses back into the limelight, and a renewed interest in this virus family resulted in the identification of two more human coronaviruses. We discovered HCoV-NL63, a novel member of group I, in a child with bronchiolitis in The Netherlands (74). HCoV-HKU1, a novel group II virus from an adult with chronic pulmonary disease in Hong Kong, was described in 2005 (81). An animal model is currently lacking for these previously unknown viruses. Nevertheless, since the discovery of HCoV-NL63 and HCoV-HKU1, much knowledge about these viruses has been gained. Several groups have studied their worldwide spread, association with human disease, replication characteristics, genome organization, and genetic diversity.


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