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Statement of the Committee of Human Genetics and Molecular Pathology of the Polish Academy of Sciences on the dissemination of false information about COVID-19 vaccines and PCR tests for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 of January 4, 2021

Recently, mainly in social media, there are statements in the form of interviews signed by people with an academic title. These statements introduce misinformation about the SARS-CoV-2 virus and COVID-19 vaccines. One example is the online interview About Pfizer's genetic vaccine and PCR tests by prof. Roman Zieliński granted to Agnieszka Kisielewska. Such statements are in contradiction with the current state of knowledge in the field of medical genetics and laboratory diagnostics.
Members of the Committee on Human Genetics and Molecular Pathology of the Polish Academy of Sciences, representatives of the choice of the national community of medical geneticists and pathologists, concerned about the lack of scientific basis for such statements and their evident social harmfulness, feel obliged to warn potential readers.
1. The authors of the statements are not experts in the field of medical genetics. Laboratory diagnostics and medical genetics are separate areas in which the authors of the statements do not have peer-reviewed publications. This is evidenced by the PubMed database, presenting all important biomedical publications in the world, where the authors of statements are represented in a quantitative and qualitatively marginal manner. None of their works concern human genetics, only, for example, microorganisms or mussels from Lake Miedwie. According to the authoritative Scopus database, also the bibliometric indices of these authors are actually significantly lower than those given in the text.
2. The presented theses are constructed in an unclear manner, using residual, often incorrect, biological knowledge. Excessive use of scientific jargon in an unaware recipient is to create the impression of substantive competence.
As a rule, the Committee does not discuss issues that are not supported by scientific evidence. However, in this case, seeing the damage caused by the existence of the theses in public space, it was considered appropriate to correct the most glaring of them:
a. The attempt to discredit molecular tests for the presence of SARS-CoV-2, based on the PCR technique or quantitative RT-PCR is incorrect. This has already been explained in https://konkret24.tvn24.pl/zdrowie,110/wywiad-o-nieeffecznosci-testow-na-covid-19-wyjasniamy-manipulacyjne-tezy,1028628.html (in Polish). These techniques can be perfectly standardized, especially in their quantitative form used in the identification of SARS-CoV-2 virus. The essence of the PCR technique is the specific multiplication of a small number of copies of a strictly defined fragment of genetic material, even in a mixture containing the majority of other sequences. The specificity of a properly designed reaction, with the simultaneous use of appropriate controls, is one of the undisputed advantages of the PCR technique, which has been the gold standard in molecular genetic diagnostics all over the world for years.
b. It is not true that the RNA administered in the COVID-19 vaccine is transcribed into DNA. The gene structure (mRNA) administered in the vaccine is not reverse transcribed, does not penetrate the cell nucleus, and is not integrated into the cell genome. RNA is merely a template in the translation process that occurs in the cytoplasm, enabling the host cell to synthesize one specific viral protein (not the whole virus). This protein forms the spike of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and the body's immune response is triggered against it. And that's what the vaccine is all about. Additionally, the administered mRNA, due to its considerable instability (hence the burdensome necessity to transport at -70 degrees Celsius), irreversibly disintegrates after the start of the translation process.
c. Anti-COVID-19 vaccines are based on a molecular mRNA vaccine model developed over many years and have been clinically tested according to standard procedures. The fact that it is not recommended to administer them to pregnant women results from the need to conduct an additional, separate test cycle, which is part of the standard procedure for clinical trials of drugs.
d. The vaccine allegedly has a negative effect on reproductive processes due to the similarity between the viral spike protein and the syncytin protein. The concepts of homology and cross-reactions are confused in Internet statements. The SARS-CoV-2 virus spike protein and syncytin contain small fragments with some amino acid sequence similarity, but this does not mean that antibodies to this protein will react with syncytin. The fragment that the spike protein (S-glycoprotein) shares with the syncytins is too small to trigger an immunological cross-reaction. There was no evidence of cross-reactivity of specific antiviral antibodies with human syncytin present in sperm. There was also no effect of SARS-CoV-2 infection, let alone COVID-19 vaccination, on female reproductive health. In conclusion, there are no scientifically valid grounds to believe that the vaccine may in any way endanger female or male fertility or reproduction in general.
3. It is a common practice in science to subject all research results to an external review carried out by independent specialists who are authorities in a given field. The theses from the interviews in question never passed such a process. Members of the Committee, as professionals, could make such a review, but first such theses would have to be formulated in a manner appropriate for scientific works, and not function only in the form of uncritically published media statements.
We would like to remind you that the current scientific knowledge about the pandemic can be obtained at https://naukaprzeciwpandemii.pl/en/.
Committee members strongly emphasize that the only scientifically sound method for a controlled cessation of the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic is to vaccinate with the COVID-19 vaccine.


The position was signed by 34 members of the Committee (list attached).

Statement of the Committee on Human Genetics and Molecular Pathology of the Polish Academy of Sciences (in Polish)


For the Human Genetics Committee
and Molecular Pathology of the Polish Academy of Sciences

Chairman
/ - / prof. dr hab. med. Michał Witt

This statement is also shared by the Polish Society of Experimental and Clinical Immunology, represented by prof. dr hab. Maciej Kurpisz, the President of the Society. The text of the position is attached below (in Polish).

Statement of the Polish Society of Experimental and Clinical Immunology (in Polish)


In December 2020, on the initiative of "Science against the pandemic", a study was created that provides information on vaccination, the technologies used and the need to fight the pandemic.
White Paper “Vaccinations against COVID-19. Innovative Technologies and Efficiency ”illustrates the medical rationales for vaccination, the examples of viral pandemics in history and the successful use of vaccines, justifies the use of vaccines to combat viral diseases. It indicates the scale of the current SARS-CoV-2 virus pandemic and the lack of available preventive measures and the importance of mass vaccination. In the following chapters the use of mRNA-based technology for the rapid development of new generation vaccines was discussed. Explains how the immune system works and the types of vaccines used. The following chapters discuss the available knowledge about the SARS-CoV2 virus, the importance of new vaccines and methods of obtaining and evaluating them, as well as discussing the vaccination plan and the importance of extensive vaccination.
Summarizing, it is a very valuable study of very current importance.
The Committee on Human Genetics and Molecular Pathology of the Polish Academy of Sciences fully supports this initiative and invites you to read the white paper "Vaccination against COVID-19. Innovative technologies and efficiency ”.

More information is available at https://naukaprzeciwpandemii.pl/en/ 


Download Vaccination against COVID-19. Innovative technologies and efficiency

Statement of the Committee of Human Genetics and Molecular Pathology of the Polish Academy of Sciences on genetic tests for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 of June 12, 2020

The Committee of Human Genetics and Molecular Pathology of the Polish Academy of Sciences has intensively joined the discussion on the methods of fighting the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, with genetic methods at the forefront. It brings together the most eminent national specialists in this field. The current state of the epidemic in Poland prompts the Presidium of the Committee to present conclusions in this matter:
1. At the present state of knowledge, the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus infection depends on the extent to which mass genetic tests detecting SARS-CoV-2 infection are actually carried out. Testing is the only objective way to assess an epidemic and its evolution. The detection of asymptomatic vectors is a critical step in breaking the chain of horizontal transmission. An effective policy in this regard, in addition to the obvious gains in public health, leads to significant macroeconomic savings.
2. According to the latest data from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), Poland is one of the two European countries where the level of infection continues to increase. Hence, the still disturbingly low number of SARS-CoV-2 genetic tests performed in Poland should be radically increased at the level of the entire population, not only in the areas of already identified infection foci. In the face of active horizontal transmission, they will probably continue to appear in a way that is not always predictable.
3. Mass tests should be carried out by competent laboratories, identified from the list of COVID-19 laboratories of the Ministry of Health; Out of 153 entities present on it (as of June 10, 2020), only some are able and willing to perform tests in the high-throughput system.
4. The SARS-CoV-2 genetic analysis system should be centrally harmonized logistically on a national scale - currently some regions, including infection outbreaks, suffer from the inability to perform the tests efficiently, while in other regions properly prepared laboratories do not use their capacity . Increasing the number of samples sent for testing is an absolute requirement of the moment.
5. The indicated laboratories should be immediately subsidized from the central pool of the government reserve in order to significantly increase their diagnostic efficiency. The same source should finance research of all people who, due to their profession, come into contact with SARS-CoV-2 infection; such tests should be performed periodically, at rationally determined intervals.

The Committee of Human Genetics and Molecular Pathology of the Polish Academy of Sciences declares its full advisory readiness on this subject.

Committee chairman
Professor Michał Witt

First meeting of the Committee on Human Genetics and Molecular Pathology of the Polish Academy of Sciences about coronavirus, Warsaw, March 9, 2020


On March 9, 2020, the first meeting of the Committee on Human Genetics and Molecular Pathology of the Polish Academy of Sciences took place, at which Professor Witold Rużyłło nominated members for the 2020-2023 terms. Professor Michał Witt, director of the Institute of Human Genetics of the Polish Academy of Sciences, deputy chairman was Professor Jerzy Bal from the Institute of Mother and Child, and the Presidium was composed of Professor Andrzej Pławski and Professor Ryszard Słomski from the Institute of Human Genetics of the Polish Academy of Sciences and scientific secretary Dr. Marlena Szalata from the Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology at the University of Life Sciences in Poznań.
Professor Rużyłło handed over to thanks to Professor Słomski for chairing the Committee so far for three four-year terms. Moreover, Professor Słomski was elected the Honorary Chairman of the Committee. The membership of the Committee was extended to include a specialist, Professor Natalia Rozwadowska from the Institute of Human Genetics of the Polish Academy of Sciences, who has been cooperating with the International Council for Laboratory Animal Science (ICLAS) for several years.
In the second part, Dr. Marek Posobkiewicz, Chief Sanitary Inspector of the Ministry of Interior and Administration, presented the current problems regarding the coronavirus and the fight against it in the world and in Poland. The lecture was met with great interest and discussion. In turn, professor Ryszard Słomski presented a report on the possibilities of using modified nanofilters to fight the coronavirus.
Professor Słomski pointed out that nano-spinning and modifications of filters from the research carried out in the Nanomitex project in Poznań could be used, control viral particles and active pathogenic viruses were used.