Fake News: Romania Has NOT Developed Coronavirus Vaccine Able To Cure White People Only

Hoax Alert

  • by: Ryan Cooper
Fake News: Romania Has NOT Developed Coronavirus Vaccine Able To Cure White People Only

Did Romanian scientists develop a vaccine that can cure caucasian people only? No, that's not true: The story is a hoax and laced with editorialized political rants. The site making the claim is known for publishing a mix of real news and conspiracies. To date, there is no known cure for the coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, China, last week, and has killed at least 170 people.

The claim surfaced in an article published by The European Union Times on January 30, 2020, titled "Romania develops Coronavirus Vaccine able to Cure White People only" (archived here). It opened:

Romanian scientists have just developed a working vaccine which is able to cure the 2019-nCov virus (also known as novo coronavirus).
Turns out human races are different in more ways not just skin color as mentally incapacitated liberals would have you believe. Liberalism is the biggest disease the world has ever seen, its a disease so great that it kills people in many ways. One of the ways now is the inability to study this virus the right way.

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Users on social media only saw this:

Romania develops Coronavirus Vaccine able to Cure White People only | EUTimes.net

Romanian scientists have just developed a working vaccine which is able to cure the 2019-nCov virus (also known as novo coronavirus). Turns out human races are different in more ways not just skin

The article is not written in a neutral, unbiased voice. The second paragraph referred to "mentally incapacitated liberals" and added, "Liberalism is the biggest disease the world has ever seen." Later in the story, the author wrote that a "liberal curtain has been pulled over our eyes."

The story linked to an article on the Romanian pro-government website, Antena3, which mentioned a proposal from OncoGen, a research center in Timisoara, Romania. The site said:

OncoGen researchers propose a novel approach for producing epitope-based peptide vaccine candidates for the novel China coronavirus (nCoV).

The researchers suggested using vaccinomics, a personalized immunization designed around an individual's genetic profile. They called it a "compromise between an industrial large-scale global vaccination strategy and an individually-targeted personalized vaccination strategy."

OncoGen's suggestion is nothing more than a proposed solution, a "novel approach" in the company's words. Because researchers there could not create a large-scale vaccine, it recommended focusing on a solution for the Romanian population.

However, there is no evidence that Romanian scientists have actually developed any vaccine that could cure the coronavirus, much less one that would vaccinate just white people.

Users sharing the made-up story online have suggested, perhaps in jest, that a possible vaccine is discriminating against certain people:

Even so, the headline is inaccurate, and the story does not back up assertions that a vaccine has been developed.

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Lead Stories is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers who are fighting misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about the alliance here.


  Ryan Cooper

Ryan Cooper, a staff writer and fact-checker for Lead Stories, is the former Director of Programming at CNN International, where he helped shape the network's daily newscasts broadcast to more than 280 million households around the world. He was based at the network's Los Angeles Bureau. There, he managed the team responsible for a three-hour nightly program, Newsroom LA.

Formerly, he worked at the headquarters in Atlanta, and he spent four years at the London bureau. An award-winning producer, Cooper oversaw the network's Emmy Award-winning coverage of the uprising in Egypt in 2011. He also served as a supervising producer during much of the network's live reporting on the Israel-Hezbollah conflict in 2006, for which CNN received an Edward R. Murrow Award.

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