Fact Check: UK Medicines Regulator Does NOT Confirm COVID Is Man-Made; Vaccines Were NOT Made With Computer-Generated DNA

Fact Check

  • by: Ed Payne
Fact Check: UK Medicines Regulator Does NOT Confirm COVID Is Man-Made; Vaccines Were NOT Made With Computer-Generated DNA Bad Conclusion

Did the U.K. Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) admit in a series of email exchanges that COVID-19 is man-made and that COVID vaccines were created with computer-generated DNA? No, that's not true: The MHRA told Lead Stories that the correspondence cited in a claim did take place, but the assertions made from those emails aren't correct.

The claim appeared in an article (archived here) published by The Exposé on October 30, 2022, under the title "BREAKING - UK Medicine Regulator confirms COVID-19 is Man-made & the Vaccines were created using Computer Generated DNA." It opened:

I recently came across a fantastic email exchange between Francis Leader and the UK Medicine Regulator, the MHRA -
In this exchange, the MHRA admits that as regards the Covid-19 vaccines -

1. The DNA template used does not come directly from an isolated virus from an infected person
2. The DNA template (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 GenBank 908947.3), was generated via a combination of gene synthesis and recombinant DNA technology.

This is what the post looked like on The Exposé website at the time of writing:

Expose Man-made.png

(Source: The Exposé screenshot taken on Thu Nov 3 18:21:11 2022 UTC)

Email exchange

The "recently discovered" emails with the MHRA are from November and December 2020 and were nearly 2 years old when The Exposé article was written. They were included in a blog posted to the Hive social network by Frances Leader, who identifies as a "Citizen Journalist, Rights Campaigner." Leader's blog entry is also 2 years old.

In a November 9, 2022, email, an MHRA spokesperson told Lead Stories that the "email exchange itself is genuine," but the conclusions in the blog and The Exposé article aren't correct and lack context. The agency addressed the two main assertions included in the article below:

Does the email exchange confirm that COVID-19 is man-made?

No. The fact that the nucleotide sequence is designed by vaccine experts and is a synthetic product does not in any way confirm that COVID-19 is 'man-made' or artificially created.

In order to create vaccines to counter the virus, scientists need to understand the genetic make-up of the virus. Part of that is understanding the genomic sequence of the viral proteins. It is also important to note that the full nucleotide sequence of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine (BNT162b2) is available in the public domain where it is open to independent scrutiny. The mRNA sequence used in the vaccine is also described in detail in the public assessment report.

Does the email exchange confirm that the Pfizer vaccine is computer-generated?

It does not confirm that the Pfizer vaccine is computer generated. In fact, it demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of genomic sequencing in general, as per our answer above.

The U.K. National Health Service says COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. They're recommended for everyone aged 5 and over.

Additional Lead Stories fact checks related to COVID-19 vaccines can be found here.

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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.

  Ed Payne

Ed Payne is a staff writer at Lead Stories. He is an Emmy Award-winning journalist as part of CNN’s coverage of 9/11. Ed worked at CNN for nearly 24 years with the CNN Radio Network and CNN Digital. Most recently, he was a Digital Senior Producer for Gray Television’s Digital Content Center, the company’s digital news hub for 100+ TV stations. Ed also worked as a writer and editor for WebMD. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, Ed is the author of two children’s book series: “The Daily Rounds of a Hound” and “Vail’s Tales.” 

Read more about or contact Ed Payne

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