• Statement on the dissemination of false information about COVID-19 vaccines and PCR tests for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 of January 4, 2021

    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,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
    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

    / - / 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)