Image: Scanning electron microscope image showing SARS-CoV-2 (round gold objects) emerging from the surface of cells cultured in the lab. Credit NIAID-RML Introduction One of the questions currently being debated about the origin of COVID-19 is whether the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded research on bat coronaviruses that could cause a virus to … Continued
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COVID-19 vaccines were developed in record time. This is due to previous research on coronaviruses, unprecedented investment, and the prevalence of the disease. Vaccines aim to prime the immune system to respond quickly to the disease in the future. Several vaccines have been developed in this way, saving millions of lives. However, this is not always straightforward to achieve depending on how the immune system responds and the variety of antigens it would need to recognize.
Not all coronaviruses exhibit seasonal activity. While common cold coronaviruses are seasonal, the viruses that cause severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) aren’t seasonal. Data from clinical trials and the ongoing vaccination campaigns show that the COVID-19 vaccines are effective at reducing the risk of illness. While they commonly cause side effects such as fever, headache, and soreness, these are mild and short-lived. The benefits of COVID-19 vaccines far outweigh their risks, when compared to the risks associated with COVID-19.
One of the biggest outstanding questions of the COVID-19 pandemic is the origin of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus responsible for the disease. One idea, put forward by some news sites like Fox News and government officials, is that SARS-CoV-2 was man-made. As very few living people have witnessed a pandemic of this scale before, it is … Continued
There is no evidence supporting the claim by Yan et al. that genetic sequences of several coronaviruses were fabricated to support the hypothesis that SARS-CoV-2 arose naturally. The presence of highly similar or identical gene and protein sequences are common among organisms that are evolutionarily related to each other. Therefore, it is expected that members of the coronavirus family share similar or identical genetic or protein features. Scientific evidence supports the hypothesis that the virus arose naturally in wildlife before it crossed over to humans.
People have died from COVID-19. This is evident from the excess mortality observed in 2020 compared to previous years before the pandemic occurred. Monoclonal antibodies that bind to SARS-CoV-2 have also been discovered and reported in published studies, and pathologists have been using such antibodies, as well as other techniques like in situ hybridization which do not require antibodies, to detect SARS-CoV-2 infection in human tissue.
Preliminary results from small-scale animal studies suggest that the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Oxford researchers may be protective against viral pneumonia. However, the researchers also detected viral genetic material in nasal passages in vaccinated monkeys, leading scientists to caution that the vaccine may not prevent virus shedding and its spread. Financial backing for the production of the Oxford vaccine has come from several sources, including the U.K. government and charities.
Blaylock produces no evidence for his claim that wearing a face mask increases risk of coronavirus infection of the brain. His statement that using face masks lead to serious health risks are also unsupported. While face masks and cloth face coverings do not provide 100% protection from infection, they still play an important role in reducing the risk of disease transmission by blocking infectious droplets containing the virus, which is the main mode of COVID-19 transmission.
Patents cited to support this claim are not related to the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, which was first identified as a new virus in early January 2020 after genome sequencing. Instead, these patents are for known coronavirus strains such as SARS-CoV-1. The joint pandemic simulation exercise Event 201 did not predict the COVID-19 pandemic, and the hypothetical virus it modeled does not resemble SARS-CoV-2. Genomic analysis of SARS-CoV-2 indicates no signs of genetic modification, and the wide scientific consensus is that the virus is of natural origin and that the outbreak began through zoonotic infection, not through a lab accident.
Developing or repurposing drugs is a long, stepwise process with a low chance of success. In vitro studies are the first step in that process. Given the high rate of failure, it is impossible to conclude from positive in vitro studies that a drug will be efficient at treating a living person. The 2005 study cited in these articles was actually a Canada-funded study, which revealed an effect of chloroquine on SARS-CoV-1 infection in cell cultures. Contrary to what the articles suggest, the study was not conducted or funded by the NIH. Although SARS-CoV-1 shares some similarities with the current SARS-CoV-2, an in vitro study of the former does not provide sufficient evidence to conclude that it will effectively treat COVID-19.