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Expert Panel: Unreported Genetic Contamination in COVID-19 Vaccines, 'Immediate Moratorium' Required

Expert Panel Discusses Evidence of Unreported Genetic Contamination in COVID-19 Vaccines

A hearing of the World Council for Health called for an “immediate moratorium" on mRNA COVID-19 vaccines.

November 12, 2023: On Oct. 9, an international panel of medical experts, in collaboration with the World Council for Health (WCH) discussed the previously undisclosed mix of genetic material recently found in the COVID-19 vaccines.

The hearing took place virtually and featured physicians, academics, and researchers from the United States, Germany, Canada, France, and Australia.

The evidence led the panel to call for an “immediate moratorium on these novel genetic ‘vaccines.’”

The genetically contaminated vials in question are those made with messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) technology, which includes products from both Moderna and BioNTech/Pfizer. Multiple undeclared genetic sequences were found in both Moderna and Pfizer vials, yet one particular sequence was found only in the Pfizer vials.

Although other vaccines employing different immune protective strategies were manufactured and authorized to combat and contain COVID-19, those made with mRNA technology have been the favorite choice among regulators, and have remained the public’s most widely used option. These shots work by programming the body’s mRNA to produce a spike protein similar to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The advantage of this technology is that it can train the immune system to recognize a specific viral threat, without the dangers of exposing the body to a potentially deadly infection.

However, despite regulator approval and public acceptance of the COVID-19 vaccines, some research has suggested that mRNA vaccines do more than temporarily tinker with the body’s RNA—and may actually alter DNA.

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- Certain COVID-19 Vaccines Linked to Elevated Risk of Guillain-Barré Syndrome - More Health Care Workers Refusing Influenza, COVID-19 Vaccines: CDC Health agencies, drug companies, and fact-checkers have repeatedly disputed this concern. A statement from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains that “the mRNA from a COVID-19 vaccine never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA is kept. This means the mRNA cannot affect or interact with our DNA in any way. Instead, COVID-19 mRNA vaccines work with the body’s natural defenses to safely develop immunity to disease.”

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services features a video that directly addresses this concern, "What the vaccine is doing is just helping your body do what it naturally does," says Dr. Janice Blanchard in the video. "It's not doing anything different. It's not changing who you are. It's not changing your DNA. It's just helping you make these antibodies. And antibodies are what you make when you get sick already. You make specific antibodies to fight different types of diseases. So this is just helping you make an antibody that will fight COVID."

On a page of its website addressing health misinformation, Pfizer states, "No, mRNA vaccines do not alter your DNA. In fact, they don’t interact directly with your DNA at all."

DNA Contamination

The WCH hearing suggests that there may be more lurking in the mRNA vaccines than the public or regulators were led to believe.

The hearing focused on recent studies in which bacterial DNA was found in numerous Moderna and Pfizer vaccine vials. The contamination consists primarily of what are known as DNA plasmids—circular molecules of DNA found in bacteria and other microorganisms.

The discovery has even earned a hashtag: #plasmidgate.

“[This is] completely undeclared, completely illegal, and includes sequences for things other than the spike protein,” said Dr. Mark Trozzi, an emergency medicine specialist and moderator for the hearing. “This is a very serious problem and I don’t think it is in any way hyperbolic to talk about the genetic invasion of innocent people without their knowledge.”

To date, several investigations have found the presence of plasmids in mRNA vials, but the initial discovery of this genetic contamination happened by chance earlier this year with a research project that had nothing to do with the COVID-19 shot.

Genetic research expert Kevin McKernan, founder of Medicinal Genomics and a team leader for the Human Genome Project, was running an experiment in his Boston lab to figure out how a viroid was driving a viral disease in cannabis fields.

Mr. McKernan and his team looked at mRNA vaccines designed for COVID-19 as a positive control group for the project. What they found in the process was that there was DNA in vials that the public was told did not contain any DNA.

Startled by the discovery, Mr. McKernan ran a second analysis on another set of vials, but the result was the same: They all contained fragments of plasmid DNA. He determined that the vials contained from 18 to 70 times more DNA contamination than what is allowed by both the European Medicines Agency and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

During the WCH hearing, Mr. McKernan explained that he had sequenced nucleic acid in Moderna and Pfizer vials and found that as much as 35 percent was DNA from bacterial plasmids. His findings have since been confirmed by various other laboratories, including in the United States, Japan, France, and Germany, with a recent study from molecular virologist David Speicher and colleagues identifying unreported DNA in all 24 vials tested.

“To be clear, there should be no DNA present in the vials at all,” McKernan said.

While vaccine formulations have changed since the beginning of the vaccine rollout as needed to address new variants, all shots, both mono- and bivalent vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer, have tested positive for considerable amounts of bacterial plasmids.

Manufacturer’s documents that regulators used to grant approvals for mRNA vaccines make no mention of bacterial plasmids, which led Mr. McKernan to believe that once the trials were completed, drug makers distributed a different formulation.

“This is a big bait and switch,” McKernan said. “[Those are] not the vials that were given to the public.”

One particularly concerning genetic contaminant Mr. McKernan found (and what other researchers have confirmed) is something called SV40 (simian virus 40). SV40 is used extensively in genetic experiments to bind transcription factors and drive any DNA attached to into the nucleus of a cell.

“It’s actually a well-published tool for gene therapy,” Mr. McKernan said. “If you want to get DNA into the nucleus, this is the shuttle that you use to get it done.”

Following this discovery, Mr. McKernan’s team published their sequencing methods to allow other researchers to find the contamination faster than the typical peer review process would allow. They designed three different assays: one that targets the bacterial origin of replication inside of the plasmid, a second that targets the spike protein, and a third to track the presence of SV40.

Critics point out that Mr. McKernan’s analysis used expired vials. However, other researchers who corroborate McKernan’s discovery found the same genetic material in many vials that have not expired.

The first researchers to replicate McKernan’s findings was a team from Japan. Another more quantitative reproduction came from a University of South Carolina professor, Phillip Buckhaults, who specializes in cancer genomics research. During a hearing in September 2023, before the South Carolina Senate Medical Affairs Committee, Mr. Buckhaults testified on his findings.

“It’s surprising that there’s any DNA in there,” Mr. Buckhaults said. “And I’m alarmed about the possible consequences of this, both in terms of human health and biology. But you should be alarmed about the regulatory process that allowed it to get there.”

How would DNA make its way into vaccine vials? According to Buckhaults, this plasmid DNA was the vector that was used as the template for the in vitro transcription reaction to make the mRNA.

“I know this is true because I sequenced it in my own lab,” he said.

Because the vials were found to contain tiny DNA fragments—an estimated 200 billion pieces of plasmid DNA in each dose of the Pfizer vaccines—Mr. Buckhaults believes that during the process of manufacturing, the DNA plasmids were simply chopped in an effort to make them go away.

“But they actually increased the hazard of genome modification,” he said. “This is a theoretical concern, but it’s pretty reasonable based on solid molecular biology that it could cause a sustained autoimmune attack toward that tissue. And it’s also a very real theoretical risk of future cancer in some people.”

However, according to Pfizer, such a concern is unfounded. In a letter to the South Carolina Senate Medical Affairs Committee from October 16, Annaliesa Anderson, senior vice president and chief scientific officer of vaccine research and development for Pfizer stated that it was incorrect to say a vaccine containing plasmid DNA could potentially impact a person’s DNA and be a theoretical cancer risk.

“There is no evidence to support these claims and they provide the risk of being misconstrued by either Committee members and/or the public at large,” writes Ms. Anderson. “Small amounts of residual DNA can be found in several approved vaccines, including influenza and hepatitis vaccines, which have been administered globally for more than 30 years.”

Vaccine or Gene Therapy

Just before mRNA shots for COVID-19 were released to the public, public health agencies changed the definition of a vaccine in order to include room for the new product. But some experts argued that mRNA shots should not be called vaccines, since they differ substantially from traditional inoculations.

However, given post-marketing evidence which shows, for example, that mRNA passes through breast milk from an injected mother to a nursing infant, there has been an even bigger push to rebrand mRNA shots as genetic therapies rather than vaccines.

During the WCH hearing, Jessica Rose, a biologist, biochemist, and data analyst, says that based on new findings of plasmid contamination, it’s impossible to ignore the genetic altering potential of these shots.

“Since there is DNA in the modified mRNA COVID-19 injectable products, these products, by any and all definitions, are gene therapies,” she said. “Even if this was not the intended design, this is the result that we’re facing right now.”

But can plasmid DNA injected into the human body really alter the human genome? Ms. Rose says there are mechanisms already known to be in these shots that can facilitate this transformation called lipid nanoparticles, which she describes as a “Trojan horse” that can invade our cells.

“They are the little fat bubbles that package up this modified mRNA which potentially has hybrids and other things for direct entry into the cells. It’s like fast delivery,” Ms. Rose said.

With the recent discovery of SV40, this DNA delivery method may be even stronger.

“SV40 promoters are among the strongest promoters in a wide variety of cell types derived from different species,” Ms. Rose said. “The question becomes, why weren’t these disclosed?”

Potential for Damage

If mRNA vaccines did have the potential to alter our DNA, wouldn't we have immune defenses that could guard against this influence?

Sucharit Bhakdi, a retired microbiologist, explained that our immune system certainly has the innate capacity to recognize and eliminate any foreign cells. Take for example an organ transplant rejection. This occurs because our immune system does not tolerate foreign DNA, even within the same species.

According to drugmakers, mRNA vaccines only program the body to make spike protein for a couple of days. However, independent research reveals the protein production mechanism lasts considerably longer. And some experts worry that an extended production period of foreign proteins may have lasting consequences.

“Continued production of any non-self protein will provoke long-term inflammation and organ damage throughout the body. Vessel walls will be damaged. Bleeding and blood clot formation are inevitable consequences,” Mr. Bhakdi said during the hearing. “Who has not heard of the sudden mysterious cardiac deaths that are occurring around the world? They are only the tip of an iceberg.”

Now, consider if the vaccine also has packaged DNA plasmids delivered directly to the cell. According to Mr. Bhakdi, once these substances reach the nucleus, they have an increased propensity to insert into chromosomal DNA, unleashing the potential for serious damage:“The possible consequences are unending. Disruption of the exquisitely attuned network that controls cell division and individuation can lead to cancer and developmental defects. Mutations in sperm and fertilized egg cells could render altered traits inheritable. Cost-effective procedures to reliably separate mass-produced RNA from plasmids do not exist. Contamination of RNA vaccines with plasmid DNA should therefore be expected to be the rule and not the exception.”


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