COVID-19 mRNA vaccines do not modify humans or make them patentable or owned by entities

CLAIM

“if a human is injected with GMOs, it becomes patented property of the government”, “they take away all your rights with mRNAs”

DETAILS

Factually inaccurate: US law prohibits the patenting of human beings. Moreover, mRNA vaccines do not modify the human genome.

Inadequate support: The 2013 US Supreme Court ruling prohibits the patentability of natural human genes. This decision was completely independent of the use of mRNA vaccines in humans.

KEY TO GO

COVID-19 mRNA vaccines are safe and effective in preventing serious disease. These vaccines do not modify the human genome. US law prohibits the patenting of human beings.

COMPLETE CLAIM: “if a human is injected with GMOs, it becomes patented property of the government”, “they take away all your rights with mRNAs”

EXAM

mRNA vaccines were first widely used in the mass vaccination campaign against COVID-19. Traditional vaccine technologies use weakened or killed viral proteins or whole viruses to generate immunity. In contrast, mRNA vaccines contain the genetic information to produce these compounds, especially the spike protein in the case of COVID-19 mRNA vaccines, and it is our own cells that will be in charge of this production.

Understandably, the novelty of the technique has raised safety concerns among many people. However, mRNA vaccines have actually been developed for a long time and are safe. Yet baseless claims about the safety of mRNA vaccines, such as the claim that mRNA vaccines alter our DNA, continue to circulate on the internet.

A variant of this claim is that people who received an mRNA vaccine against COVID-19 are now genetically modified and will be owned by corporations or the government under patent laws. For example, a video posted to Instagram in November 2022 showed someone claiming that, according to a 2013 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, “if a human is injected with GMOs, it becomes patented government property. “. To which another person replied, “they take away all your rights with the mRNAs”. Based on other copies of the video posted on social media, the video is quite old and dates back to at least August 2021.

However, this claim is inaccurate and has been repeatedly debunked. As noted, this assertion is inconsistent with any US Supreme Court decision or patent laws and would in fact violate existing US laws, as we will explain below.

First, the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act of 2011 prohibits patent claims “directed or encompassing a human organism” in its Section 33. Therefore, humans cannot be patented. As Jorge Contreras, a law professor at the University of Utah, told the Australian Associated Press: “Just because a patented substance is injected into a person, even according to the interpretation craziest thing in patent law, that the person somehow becomes ‘patented’.”

Second, the 2013 US Supreme Court decision does not relate to mRNA vaccines. The judgment was actually related to patent claims of the company Myriad Genetics. In 1994, Myriad Genetics identified two human genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2, whose mutations are strongly associated with an elevated risk of breast cancer and patented the two genes. The United States Supreme Court ruled that Myriad Genetics could patent artificial, synthetic genetic fragments of these genes, but could not patent the natural gene of the human genome.

Finally, mRNA vaccines do not alter our DNA. This recurring false claim, dating back to the beginning of the vaccination campaign, is not supported by any scientific evidence, as previously explained by Health Feedback. These vaccines introduce into our cells mRNA templates necessary for the production of the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Both mRNA template and spike protein have a short lifespan and neither mRNA nor spike protein can modify our genome.

In summary, the claim that mRNA vaccines will make vaccinated individuals patentable and corporate or government owned has no legal basis, despite the impression given by some social media users. The claim is based on false information about how mRNA vaccines work and a misrepresentation of a 2013 US Supreme Court decision. mRNA vaccines do not alter our DNA and US law prohibits the patenting of human beings.

About Alma Ackerman

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