Fact Check: Interview Does NOT Prove There's No Variants, No Novel Coronavirus, No Pandemic -- It Recycles Debunked Conspiracy Theories

Fact Check

  • by: Dana Ford
Fact Check: Interview Does NOT Prove There's No Variants, No Novel Coronavirus, No Pandemic -- It Recycles Debunked Conspiracy Theories Unfounded

Does a podcaster's online video prove there are no SARS-CoV-2 variants, that there's no pandemic and that COVID-19 isn't a novel disease? No, that's not true: coronavirus conspiracist David Martin's claims fly in the face of the established medical consensus, which recognizes SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, as a novel coronavirus, and has documented the emergence of several variants as the global pandemic death toll rose past 4 million. One medical doctor consulted by Lead Stories said Martin was trying to create controversy where there is none.

The lengthy interview appeared as a video post (archived here) on BitChute on July 14, 2021. Titled "FULL INTERVIEW: There is No Variant - Not Novel - No Pandemic. Dr David Martin with Reiner Fuellmich," the video features comments by Martin, who is identified as the chairman of M-CAM, a company that analyzes patents, among other things. Fuellmich is a German trial lawyer who has announced plans to sue governments for actions they have taken to fight the pandemic. Shortly after the four-minute mark of the video, Martin said about SARS-CoV-2:

We took the actual genetic sequences that were reportedly novel and reviewed those against the patent records that were available as of the spring of 2020 and what we found, as you'll see in this report, are over 120 patented pieces of evidence to suggest that the declaration of a novel coronavirus was actually entirely a fallacy. There was no novel coronavirus.

Users on social media saw this title, description and thumbnail:

FULL INTERVIEW: There is No Variant - Not Novel - No Pandemic. Dr David Martin with Reiner Fuellmich

MUST WATCH! PATENT UNDERWRITER FOLLOWS THE COVID CRIME - CURE PATENTED BEFORE DISEASE This is an extremely important discussion that completely blows the lid off the covid scamdemic. This information must be shared everywhere and viewed by as many ...

Martin's comment about there being "no novel coronavirus" goes against the established medical consensus, which recognizes SARS-CoV-2 as a genetically distinct virus. It was classified and named in this paper, written by the Coronaviridae Study Group of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV). According to the World Health Organization (WHO):

ICTV announced 'severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)' as the name of the new virus on 11 February 2020. This name was chosen because the virus is genetically related to the coronavirus responsible for the SARS outbreak of 2003. While related, the two viruses are different.

Martin has made the claim about patents before and, as he notes later in the video, fact checkers have repeatedly found his claims are false. Prior patents, such as this one held by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), refer to different viruses in the coronavirus family, not the new virus that causes COVID-19. There are several different types of coronaviruses, named for the crown-like spikes on their surface, as can be seen here.

Lead Stories reached out to Dr. Frank Esper, pediatric infectious diseases specialists at Cleveland Clinic Children's, to ask about Martin's claim. In a phone call with Lead Stories on July 21, 2021, Esper gave the following explanation:

It's a family, and families have similar sequences that you can still see. I mean, I have brown hair. My son has brown hair. We're part of a family but we're definitely two distinct individuals.

At the 31:45 mark, Martin claims COVID-19 is lab-created, saying:

There wasn't a lab leak. This was an intentional bioweaponization of spike proteins to inject into people to get them addicted to a pancoronavirus vaccine.

There's no evidence that's true. At the time this fact check was written, the search for the origin of the virus was still under way.

In March 2021, a WHO-convened study team released a report saying "a laboratory origin of the pandemic was considered to be extremely unlikely." Since then, the idea that the virus may have come from a lab has gathered steam, but a potential leak is a far cry from what Martin is claiming. He states as fact that the virus was purposely spread in order to force people to get a vaccine -- a theory that has no basis in fact and that plays into a larger conspiracy about the pandemic being engineered by a group of global elites.

At 56:15, Martin revisits the idea of individuals being forced to get a vaccine by claiming there are no SARS-CoV-2 variants. He says:

There is no such thing as an Alpha or a Beta or a Gamma or Delta variant. This is a means by which what is desperately sought is a degree to which individuals can be coerced into accepting something that they would not otherwise accept.

Again, his comments fly in the face of the established medical consensus, which recognizes a number of variants, as can be seen here and here.

For a bit more insight into variants, Lead Stories reached out to Benjamin Neuman, a professor of biology and chief virologist at the Texas A&M Global Heath Research Complex (GHRC). In an email, dated July 20, 2021, he wrote:

Each of the things that we call variants represents a substantial branch of the SARS-CoV-2 family tree. Variants are not official taxonomic ranks, in the sense that they are relatively small subdivisions within a species, and variant naming happens by a mix of community consensus and math. In the coronavirus field, new viruses are first analyzed by a computer, and then discussed by a committee to figure out where it makes the most sense to mark distinctions. There is considerable variation within each variant, but all the members of a variant group such as Delta or Alpha share a common ancestor.

Genetic variants of SARS-CoV-2 have been emerging and circulating since the start of the pandemic, which brings this fact check to its final point about the post.

Contrary to the video's title, there is a pandemic. The WHO characterized COVID-19 as such back in March of 2020, when there were just 118,000 confirmed cases and roughly 4,300 people had lost their lives. At the time this fact check was written, those numbers had risen to more than 192 million confirmed cases and roughly 4.1 million COVID-19 deaths worldwide.

When asked whether Martin's claims are consistent with how physicians and public health experts think about the pandemic and the virus, Dr. Esper said it didn't seem to him that Martin was trying to make a point to scientists. Esper said about Martin:

He was just trying to throw fuel on the fire and say there's controversy where there's no controversy.

Reuters and FactCheck.org have both debunked the claim that old patents include the new coronavirus. Read their fact checks here and here.

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Lead Stories is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers who are fighting misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about the alliance here.

  Dana Ford

Dana Ford is an Atlanta-based reporter and editor. She previously worked as a senior editor at Atlanta Magazine Custom Media and as a writer/ editor for CNN Digital. Ford has more than a decade of news experience, including several years spent working in Latin America.

Read more about or contact Dana Ford

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