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Byron Shire
August 6, 2021

‘Technically no longer human’ – can mRNA COVID-19 vaccines meld with your DNA?

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Can the mRNA in a COVID-19 vaccine alter your DNA? Experts weigh in. Image National Genome Health Research Institute

Indeed, can your DNA be altered at all?

It’s becoming increasingly common to see social media posts claiming that the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, which include those made by Pfizer and Moderna, could alter a person’s DNA.

Is there any truth to these rumours? Could an mRNA vaccine be modifying your DNA?

mRNA vaccines are made from synthetically designed genetic ‘photocopies’ of DNA known as messenger RNA (mRNA). Our cells use mRNA as the recipe for building proteins. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines contain the mRNA for the COVID-19 spike protein, which is fed to our cells so that they can identify and attack COVID-19 if it enters the body.

DNA structure. Image Wikimedia Commons

So why might people be concerned that this mRNA could somehow alter our DNA?

In an AusSMC Expert Reaction, Professor Nigel McMillan from Griffith University suggests that the process of RNA being inserted into human DNA does happen in the case of some other viruses.

‘We know that certain viruses such as HIV are able to insert their RNA into the human genome, but only after they have converted it into DNA,’ he says. ‘This is accomplished via a virus enzyme called reverse transcriptase – an enzyme humans don’t have.’”

In other words, without the existence of the enzyme, there’s no way for a similar thing to happen with the COVID-19 vaccine. “The upshot is we don’t have a way for mRNA vaccines to be inserted into our genomes, so, current vaccines are safe,” McMillan says.

Professor Thomas Preiss from the Australian National University is also confident that the COVID-19 vaccine couldn’t end up spliced into the human genome.

‘There is, at present, no evidence that it’s plausible for mRNA from the COVID-19 vaccines to be integrated into human DNA,’ he says, ‘at least not in the sense that it would represent a significant medical problem with mRNA vaccines.’

Preiss adds that, even if by some rare chance a fragment of the mRNA vaccine was able to splice itself into human DNA, it would most likely not be much of a problem anyway.

‘Even if such events did rarely occur, the chances of it having a detrimental effect on the individual are extremely low,” he says. “Thus, this issue will likely be of negligible consequence to human health, whether on the individual or population level, especially in contrast to the very real harm done by the global pandemic.’

Darkly doom-like DNA. Image Wikimedia Commons

McMillan and Preiss both referenced a controversial paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS) claiming that it was possible for COVID-19 mRNA to be implanted in human DNA. However, neither expert felt the paper stood up to rigorous scientific scrutiny.

‘The scientific consensus is that this work is preliminary, not proven, and likely an artefact of the experimental process rather than a real finding,’ says McMillan.

Preiss references two more papers, one from the American Society for Microbiology and the other a non-peer reviewed pre-print, which independently test the findings of the PNAS paper.

‘There have now been at least two studies presenting evidence that the very detection technology used could be to blame for the generation of hybrid human-viral sequences during the analysis, rather than events that had occurred in the cells,’ he says.

And what about the implication that nano-machines are included in mRNA vaccines to artificially alter human DNA? Preiss says it’s all to do with a misunderstanding of the terms used to describe the size of tiny molecules included in the vaccines.

‘The origin of this concern, as circulating on social media, seems to have been in part a broader suspicion against nanotechnology,’ he says. ‘However, in the mRNA vaccine context, the term ‘nano’ simply refers to the tiny size of fat-like droplets that the mRNA is encapsulated in for delivery into cells.’

This article originally appeared in Cosmos Magazine and is reproduced with their permission.


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14 COMMENTS

  1. Good to see that the Echo is maintaining a balance on Covid information.
    We the public have a right to know the facts not merely speculation here say -thankyou

  2. As of June 11, there have been 5,993 deaths, 6,156 life-threatening adverse events, 4,874 cases of permanent disability, and over 68,000 hospitalizations and emergency room visits following Covid vaccination reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System in the USA

    • Totally meaningless statistics – you are falling for the classic logical fallacy that because one event follows another, the first caused the second. It is an unfortunate fact of life that all of us die, and therefore some people will die within a reasonable timeframe after they have been given a vaccine. This is in no way evidence that the vaccine caused the death.

  3. Yes I agree,good reporting.Now go and get another expert scientist from a renowned University that says otherwise..I’m sure there are a few.

  4. “most likely not be much of a problem anyway” then “especially in contrast to the very real harm done by the global pandemic.” So in the end I depends on who you want to believe. These Professors didn’t think the spike protein would move around the body now they are finding them in ovaries and organs. Its still in trial for next 18 months. Give me a healthy immune system any day.

  5. The Echo should be asking a geneticist for the answer here. I have read extensively on evolutionary biology and I can tell you that the mRNA vaccine is just a recipe to produce the covid ” spike protein”so that our immune system can produce anti bodies to fight it and nothing else.It is very specific.

    • Thank you. I decided to get the Vaccine. I work at a university, where young folks were dying daily from Covid I lost 5 employees to covid. I know had they been given a chance to get the vaccine and live they would have done it. its smart people like you that breaks down the biology of it. thankssss

  6. Perhaps it does, perhaps it doesn’t….. meanwhile what else might it be doing…….. and why the push……. because of a non-existent pandemic.

    Medical science has lost its credibility…. government, media and big pharma lost it years ago.

    Trust your body.

  7. Anton what about the 60000 plus who have died of COVID in the USA and is it millions in India. I think you need a fair suck of perspective rather than quoting those numbers. We do know mRNA is processed by the cell in the cytoplasm and not in the nucleus where the DNA is, right?

  8. Richard trust your body?! What does that mean like the ex marine in the USA I don’t need a vaccine I have an immune system, then he dies sadly of COVID. Lesson learnt get your vaccine and don’t be selfish. How can you think it’s fake, some world wide conspiracy? Give face book and Twitter a break.

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