Social media users have made an unfounded connection between pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline, and a Chinese laboratory that has been the subject of COVID-19 conspiracy theories.
Posts featuring the false claim can be seen (here , here). “The Chinese biological laboratory in Wuhan is owned by Glaxo. Who, by chance, owns Pfizer (the one who produces the vaccine.)", the posts read, whilst also linking Pfizer to asset manager BlackRock, and Microsoft CEO Bill Gates.
Unverified theories have suggested the virus that causes COVID-19 was synthesised by the Wuhan Institute of Virology (here). However the majority of virologists and infectious disease experts say the new virus is most likely to have evolved naturally (here).
Pfizer, meanwhile, has been involved in the development of a COVID-19 vaccine that has been approved for use in the UK and the U.S. (here).
But GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), a British pharmaceutical company, does not own either Pfizer or the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
In 2019, a CAS member wrote an open letter maintaining that it was not run or financed independently from the Chinese government (here).
“CAS has never sought or achieved financial autonomy”, the representative wrote in science journal Nature.
“Over the past 40 years, half of its income has come directly from central-government investment; the rest has been from competitive funding or technology transfer”.
False. GlaxoSmithKline does not own Pfizer or the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here .
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