A law designed to update US financial appropriations was significantly amended by the House of Representatives on 17 December 2019 and cleared by the Senate. It inappropriately equated the RNA messenger with a vaccine (Sec 605 Biological Product Definition). It was adopted as such and promulgated on 20 December 2019 (H.R. 1865 – Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020).

A few days later, China was in the throes of the Covid-19 epidemic. In the months that followed, major laboratories floated the idea of using the RNA messenger as the equivalent of a vaccine to fight Covid; a novel use that no one had ever thought of before ... with the exception of the US Congress.