Fake News: Scientists from Australia Did NOT Create First Vaccine For Novel Coronavirus

Fact Check

  • by: Ryan Cooper
Fake News: Scientists from Australia Did NOT Create First Vaccine For Novel Coronavirus

Did a team of scientists from Australian Medical University create the first vaccine for the novel coronavirus? No, that's not true: This is a scam. There is no known vaccine for the latest coronavirus outbreak, which originated in Wuhan, China. The website that was taking orders for the "vaccine" has been taken down.

The claim originated from a website (archived here) published by vaccine-coronavirus.com on or before February 2, 2020, under the title "Vaccine Available Now!" It opened:

We team of medicine scientist from Australian Medical University.
Our team created first vaccine for Novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

Users on social media saw this:

This is a scam, and the site, which was captured in a snapshot by archive.is, is no longer up. The people responsible for the hoax may not have been native English speakers because the site contained grammar errors in the subheader:

We team of medicine scientist from Australian Medical University.

The post referred to Australian Medical University, but there is no such institution. The closest-named place is Australian National University, and there was a fictitious Canberra address listed at the bottom of the site.

The site took orders in Bitcoin for vaccine kits. However, buyers would be left without anything valid to show for their purchase. There is no known vaccine for the current coronavirus centered in Wuhan, China, which has killed at least 361 people as of February 3, 2020, according to The New York Times.

Researchers have said it could take months before they could create a vaccine that is safe to be administered in humans.

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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.

Read more about or contact Ryan Cooper

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