A viral video features a doctor making dubious claims about COVID-19 vaccines and treatments at a forum hosted by Idaho’s lieutenant governor. Dr. Ryan Cole claims mRNA vaccines cause cancer and autoimmune diseases, but the lead author of the paper on which Cole based that claim told us there is no evidence mRNA vaccines cause those ailments.
The unprecedented speed of the COVID-19 vaccines was due to multiple factors.
Candidates for an mRNA vaccine — the technology used for the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines — can be quickly designed once scientists know the genetic sequence of the virus and which protein to target. Researchers already knew from past experience with SARS and MERS, which are other diseases caused by coronaviruses, that the spike protein the virus uses to enter cells was likely the right one.
Dubious websites and viral posts falsely claim that the World Health Organization changed COVID-19 testing protocols for political reasons following Joe Biden’s inauguration and admitted that false-positive cases had been inflating the case count. The WHO’s guidance merely reminded labs to follow instructions provided by each test’s manufacturer.