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Local Column

GUEST COLUMN: The latest in COVID-19 conspiracy theories involves the new vaccines

Dr. Eric Kuhns
Dr. Eric Kuhns

I was recently asked about some questions regarding the new COVID vaccines, and it prompted some interesting exploration of conspiracy theories that are circulating recently.

The questions, and answers:

What about the claims of luciferase and patent 060606? Claims that it changes your DNA? Are these legitimate concerns or scare tactics?

These are interesting examples of where conspiracy theories come from, and how they come together. Fundamentally, conspiracy theories take some fact or grain of truth that sounds scary and make unsubstantiated connections to spin a sensational tale that drives clicks, which is how money and notoriety is gained on the internet these days.

Let’s start with luciferase.

Lucifer is Greek for “light-bringer,” and you might recognize the root in luminescence or translucent. It is, of course, also the name of God’s “brightest” angel, before the fall.

Bioluminescence, like that in fireflies, is brought about by an enzyme called luciferase, which translates into “light-bringing enzyme.”

How does this connect to vaccines?

Well, in countries with underdeveloped medical systems, there is a problem tracking who has gotten a vaccine and who has not. Bill Gates suggested that an invisible ink tattoo incorporated into the vaccine delivery system be used that would be visible – luminescence – when exposed to a certain wavelength of light. They are tiny, and sometimes referred to as “quantum dots” (also slightly scary-sounding).

A worker could use a device incorporated into a cellphone to see whether a person had gotten the vaccine. Helpful, and an easy way to solve the issue of who was vaccinated in an area where records aren't kept.

The enzyme used in that technology is luciferase.

In the U.S. and most developed countries, there is no need or use for this, and luciferase isn’t used in current vaccines.

That doesn’t keep it from sounding scary, and thus being useful to conspiracy theorists.

On to patent 060606, which actually is “WO2020060606A1.” There are three 6’s in there somewhere, right? Good enough for a conspiracy.

This patent is for an insertable microchip system that rewards body activity with cryptocurrency. Microsoft Technology applied for the patent earlier this year.

It relates to technology in smart watches and phones; the application makes no mention of using “injectable chips” for any sort of internal monitoring or control. It has no relation to vaccines, except in the minds of conspiracy theorists.

Some vaccines, like those from Pfizer and Moderna that are proving effective against COVID-19, use lipid nanoparticles to encapsulate messenger RNA – genetic material that helps the body get a look at what the real virus is, without actually giving it the disease, and provides a blueprint for your own cells to make antibodies.

It’s important to note that only the “spike proteins” are made in this process, not the whole virus, or even a killed virus – just the “spikes” that are critical for the virus to enter cells. This is what your body makes antibodies against. There is no chance to be “infected” by this, as it is only a small part of the surface of the virus.

Nanoparticles are not the same as microscopic “nanotechnology” robots injected via a needle. That stuff still is science fiction, and would be fabulously expensive if/when it would become a reality, even for Bill Gates, in widespread use.

As far as “changing your DNA” and making you into a genetically modified organism, this claim is another tortuous misapplication of science. The normal process is that DNA is transcribed (read into) RNA, which your body uses to make things, not the other way around.

No DNA is involved in COVID vaccines, and they are and they will not make us into humans 2.0.

These vaccines are newer technology (which is faster and more easy to mass produce – progress!), that is true, and that's why I would not be comfortable without standard large safety trials, which are ongoing, with 30,000 to 60,000 people.

Preliminary results show remarkable effectiveness, not only from being infected, but also from the bad effects and hospitalizations that follow – we know COVID has bad effects, both short- and long-term. In the Moderna trial, no one who got the vaccine ended up in the hospital to date, and many in the placebo group did. This is better than I dared hope for in the beginning.

Russia and China have forged ahead without these. Maybe they are right, and will end up saving lives, but the risk is real, and in this country we choose to be more careful.

After the safety trials are done, the remaining risk will be comfortably below the risk of COVID, and if these conspiracy theories scare people away from a safe and effective vaccine, the devil wins anyways - working mysteriously as always.

Remember the original conspiracy theory – the devil telling Eve that God did not want them eating the apple, or they would become like God?

It is all too easy to introduce doubt.

Family physician Dr. Eric Kuhns is chief of the CGH Medical Center Department of Medicine and chairman of its Coronavirus Task Force.

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