An opera singer Tamar Iveri, an anti-vaccination activist Shore Shanidze, and a Facebook page “სტალინი” (Stalin) have disseminated news on social media about the vaccine against the novel coronavirus allegedly causing DNA alternations in humans. Moreover, the primary source for “Stalin” is Tamar Iveri, while Iveri herself cites a Swiss Kla.tv, which broadcasts in German and is ill-famous with its record of disseminating conspiracy theories.
The news about the DNA and RNA-based vaccines, including the one against the coronavirus, allegedly altering the human genes, is fake. Coronaviruses are RNA viruses, therefore, a vaccine based on RNA, not DNA, was created to fight it. Integrating RNA or DNA in human genome through vaccination and changing something on a genetical level is impossible.
- An RNA-based vaccine has been created against the coronavirus
There are several types of vaccines against viruses, including RNA and DNA-based. The function of all those vaccines is to create antibodies in human body that would fight the virus in case of an infection.
The type of the virus determines the type of the vaccine. COVID-19, like other coronaviruses, is an RNA virus, meaning that its genetic information is recorded in RNA. Therefore, a vaccine based on RNA, not DNA, was created to fight it. However, it is theoretically possible through reverse transcription to create its DNA as well, which could be used in the vaccine, but this has not been done yet and there is only an RNA-based vaccine against COVID-19. When we say “RNA-based vaccine”, we mean the RNA of the virus, not that of a human.
It is also important that the RNA differs from DNA by chemical composition, namely by the fact that RNA consists of ribonucleic acid, while DNA consists of deoxyribonucleic acid. In addition, RNA contains uracil ribonucleotides, whereas in DNA those are substituted with thymine. Therefore, it is impossible to integrate RNA into a human genome or alter anything at a genetical level.
- mRNA vaccines against the novel coronavirus
In order to cause an immune reaction, dead or weak virus cells are introduced into the body. However, scientists have come up with an innovative approach in case of the vaccine for the novel coronavirus. These are mRNA vaccines, also known as messenger RNA, which means that they “teach” our body to create proteins or a part of them that would subsequently cause an immune reaction in the body. It is exactly this immune reaction that creates antibodies that fight the virus cells in case of an infection, whereas the RNA molecule is degraded and destroyed in the cell.
mRNA vaccines are not novel, they are used to treat several types of cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), although the mRNA vaccines against the coronavirus are new, this does not mean that they have not been studied. Years of mRNA vaccine research will allow us in the future to simultaneously create protection against those viruses that cannot be prevented through vaccinations.
- About foreign primary sources and local sources
Tamar Iveri cites Kla.tv, a German-speaking Swiss media outlet. According to a report, prepared by newsguardtech.com about Kla.tv, the TV often disseminates harmful information, as well as disinformation about the coronavirus and never corrects its mistakes. It is owned by Ivo Sasek, the leader of a Christian fundamentalist sect, who also publishes two newspapers (Stimme und Gegenstimme, Anti-Zensur-Zeitung) where he disseminates conspiracy theories about terrorist attacks, homosexuality, the Euro crisis, and climate change.
As for Stefano Montanari, an Italian doctor, who is Shore Shanidze’s primary source, according to an Italian portal FACTA, he was denying the danger of the coronavirus in the beginning of the pandemic and now advocates against vaccinations. Shore Shanidze is an anti-vaccination activist herself. Myth Detector has verified the conspiracy theories and disinformation disseminated by her on several occasions.
- Dissemination of the news
By Mariam Dangadze
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