No, SARS-CoV-1 was not a bioweapon developed at a U.S. university

By: Arron Williams
June 1 2023

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No, SARS-CoV-1 was not a bioweapon developed at a U.S. university


The Verdict False

There is no evidence that SARS-CoV-1 was a bioweapon developed at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Claim ID d30aa921


A video shared on Twitter and Facebook shows known conspiracist David Martin claiming that coronavirus is a bioweapon and that SARS-CoV-1 was developed at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). The video shows Martin talking at the International Covid Summit, held at the European Parliament building in Brussels, in May 2023. He also suggested the pandemic was planned. On Facebook, the video has over 750,000 views and 6,000 likes.

In Fact

There is no evidence that SARS was a bioweapon developed by the UNC. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) was first identified in 2003 during an outbreak in China. SARS is a viral respiratory disease caused by a SARS-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV); it is airborne and can spread via small droplets of saliva, similar to influenza. Johns Hopkins Medicine states that the origin of the disease has not yet been confirmed, but many researchers believe that it originated in animals and then spread to humans.

According to the CDC, the SARS-CoV-1 outbreak lasted approximately six months and spread to more than two dozen countries in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia. The first potential case of SARS was reported in 2002, in Guangdong, China, and in March 2003, the WHO issued a global alert for severe pneumonia with an unknown origin in China, Vietnam, and Hong Kong.

As current evidence shows that SARS first emerged in China with a likely animal origin, claims of SARS being a man-made virus developed by the UNC are entirely unsubstantiated. There is no proof it was developed in a U.S. lab, and Logically Facts has previously debunked similar claims that COVID-19 is a bioweapon and that the COVID-19 pandemic was planned.

Martin claims that a patent from 2002 by the UNC at Chapel Hill for an “Infectious Replication Defective clone of coronavirus” is evidence that SARS is a bioweapon and that the 2002 SARS outbreak was planned. A Google Patents search revealed a patent from 2002 titled “Methods for producing recombinant coronavirus,” attributed to the UNC at Chapel Hill, and is listed as expired. While the patent does mention the phrase “infectious Replication Defective,” there is nothing in the patent that suggests this is code for a “bioweapon” as Martin claims. Furthermore, the existence of the patent alone does not suggest that the SARS outbreak was created at the university. Logically Facts reached out to the UNC for more information on the patent, but has yet to receive a response.

The speaker in the viral video, David Martin, is a financial analyst and corporate advisor who founded a market analyst firm called M-CAM. However, as details, he has previously spread COVID-19 conspiracy theories and false information about patents. He features heavily in the second installment of the conspiracy documentary “Plandemic”. Furthermore, no evidence could be found to suggest that International Covid Summit was an official European Parliament event, only that it was held in the building. Logically Facts reached out to the European Parliament but is awaiting a response.

The Verdict

There is no evidence that COVID-19 was manufactured as a bioweapon or that SARS-CoV-1 came from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. David Martin is also known to push COVID-19 conspiracy theories. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.

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Global Fact-Checks Completed

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