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CDC Patents Ebola Virus

Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man diagnosed with Ebola at a hospital in Texas, passed away on Wednesday leaving many with questions of what will happen next with the virus.

After arriving in the US from Liberia on September 20, Duncan quickly became ill and made the trip to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital seeking treatment.  Sent home with antibiotics for his fever, vomiting and abdominal pain, Duncan wasn’t admitted to the hospital until his symptoms worsened three days later.  It was then that he was screened for the Ebola virus and quickly quarantined.

Since then, officials have been keeping a close watch on the Dallas area, in particular the 48 people who had contact with Duncan.  So far, none have showed symptoms of the virus, but a close call with a local sheriff’s deputy hasn’t helped squash the fear that the virus will spread.

Rumors are also stirring that the US government would profit from a potential outbreak because of a patent that it holds on the Ebola virus.  While the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions does hold a patent on a strain of Ebola, it doesn’t appear to be the particular strain currently at large.

Though there have been headlines out there claiming the government is out to make billions off an upcoming “epidemic,” the CDC claims that there is no conspiracy.  Government officials have stated that while they do often patent strains of viruses and microbes out there, it’s simply to keep it in the public domain so that further research and technology can be developed and kept available to all.  Any patents that the government holds on this virus are to be used for the public good and will keep commercial companies from patenting the strains themselves.

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