COVID-19 cannot enter a person’s DNA, according to Australian researchers, refuting claims that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that caused the infectious disease, could integrate its genetic material into the human genome.
The study, which was published in the journal Cell Reports, found no evidence of COVID-19 – or the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccines – entering DNA.
According to researchers from the University of Queensland, the claims have resulted in “scaremongering,” and people should not be afraid to get vaccinated.
“The evidence refutes this concept being used to fuel vaccine hesitancy,” said Geoff Faulkner, Professor at the Queensland Brain Institute at the University of Queensland.
“The fact that we found no evidence of SARS-CoV-2 integration suggests that such events are, at best, extremely rare in vivo, and thus unlikely to drive oncogenesis or explain post-recovery detection of the virus.”
“From a public health standpoint, there are no concerns that the virus or vaccines could be incorporated into human DNA,” Faulkner said.
Faulkner previously proposed that positive COVID-19 tests long after recovery are due to the virus being incorporated into DNA in his previous study, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“We investigated their claims that human cells and machinery converted COVID-19 RNA into DNA, resulting in permanent mutations.”
“We evaluated the claims in laboratory-grown cells, performed DNA sequencing, and found no evidence of COVID-19 in DNA,” he added.
Researchers from Purdue University in Indiana, US, demonstrated in May that, while viruses have historically been capable of integrating their genetic material into human genes, the COVID virus lacks the molecular machinery to integrate its RNA into human DNA.