Has a Swedish university proved that the COVID-19 vaccine creates spike proteins that are "hijacking" the human body's DNA repair and adaptive immune mechanisms? No, that's not true: The claim was based on a preliminary research report, not a peer-reviewed science journal paper, and the university in question has withdrawn the draft after finding flaws with its methodology and conclusions.
The claim was made in a November 4, 2021, Vision Times article titled "Study Finds COVID Spike Protein Created in Vaccines 'Hijacking' Human Body DNA Repair and Adaptive Immune System Mechanisms - Vision Times" (archived here), which opened:
A recent study published by two Chinese scientists working for a university in Sweden has found evidence that the full length spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), damages a crucial DNA repair mechanism involved in the human body's adaptive immunity.
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Study Finds COVID Spike Protein Created in Vaccines 'Hijacking' Human Body DNA Repair and Adaptive Immune System Mechanisms - Vision Times
A recent study out of Sweden has found the spike protein on SARS-CoV-2, utilized in COVID vaccines, is damaging the body's DNA repair and active immune systems.
Vision Times claimed the Swedish study shows that the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein "significantly inhibits" the body's ability to repair DNA damage, which is essential to adaptive immunity.
Lead Stories contacted the authors and the research institute where they work, asking if Vision Times interpreted the study properly. No such conclusions can be drawn, wrote Professor Neus Visa, head of the department of molecular biosciences at Stockholm University's Wenner-Gren Institute, in a November 17, 2021, email to Lead Stories. She wrote:
No, the article does not prove that vaccine-generated spike proteins will hijack the human body's DNA repair mechanism and other adaptive immune system reactions. The study uses an artificial setup in vitro that cannot support conclusions about the effects of the spike protein in the body.
Visa wrote that while Stockholm University's research projects are "truth-seeking, free and unbound," peer review is essential. "We have evaluated the research presented in this article and found flaws in the quality of the work and data interpretation and therefore the authors have contacted the journal and requested the withdrawal of the article."
The journal that published is an "open access" journal, which scientists use to share early findings before they've been reviewed by peers and experts.
In contrast, formal scientific publication includes full public access to data and methodology, which editors send to competing and equally expert peers in advance of publication. Peer review is, in ideal cases, when errors in everything from math to logic are spotted and can be corrected, strengthening the final version of the paper, which is then subjected to rigorous editing by journal staff who are often experts in the field.
Lead Stories has written to the editors of the journal, Viruses, to learn what steps will be taken in response to Stockholm University's request that the article be withdrawn. At the time of writing, the article was still available, with no notice that problems had been identified. We will update this fact check, as appropriate, when they reply.