A message circulating online indicates that Bill Gates has explained that “the Covid vaccine will use experimental technology and permanently alter its DNA.” This is false. Although it is true that among the alternatives to the vaccine against COVID-19 there are two approaches of an experimental nature, in reference to the candidates for RNA and DNA vaccines, the creator magnate of Microsoft has never said that these can “permanently” change the Human DNA.

The hoax arises from an article that Bill Gates himself posted on his Gates Notes blog on April 30, 2020. In it he mentioned the options that are being considered in the vaccine race before COVID-19 and showed his “Enthusiasm” for “two new approaches”, “RNA and DNA vaccines”.

In fact, he explains that his foundation in collaboration with the Coalition for Innovations in Epidemic Preparedness (CEPI) have provided funds “for almost a decade” for the “development of an RNA vaccine platform” with the aim of finding a solution to malaria, although “now it seems one of the most promising options for COVID-19”.

In any case, the fact is that Gates does not indicate in this article or in any intervention or interview that these vaccine candidates can “permanently” modify human DNA, simply is dedicated to explaining differences in performance between “traditional approach” vaccinesthat is, vaccines that inject the virus or a part of it, inactively or actively but attenuated, so that the body generates an immune response that produces specific antibodies before that substance that is anchored to the virus, and RNA vaccines, mainly, in which what would be injected would be the “genetic code necessary to produce an antigen” of COVID-19.

Functioning of the new vaccine candidates

exist two main options to inject RNA SARS-CoV-2 as a vaccine and in no case is there a risk that it will modify human DNA.

The first consists of directly inject the virus messenger RNA (mRNA) that encodes the viral protein in the cytoplasm of our cells. Once inside, this virus mRNA gives instructions to make viral proteins similar to those of the pathogen that you want to combat, which induce the creation of specific antibodies against those proteins that you notice as foreign. In this way, before a possible contagion by SARS-CoV-2, the immune system would already know how to act because it knows the type of proteins that this virus generates.

It should be noted, as the geneticist Lluis Montoliu (CNB-CSIC) who works on CRISPR techniques to combat the coronavirus, recalls that this replication process “occurs outside the nucleus, in the cytoplasm of the human cell”.

Why carry out the editing of the human genome itself (of DNA) could only be done by transgenic techniques or cut-and-paste of gene lettersthat is, CRISPR: “When we use CRISPR molecular scissors (CAS9 proteins) to genetically edit mice or plants, which are living beings with nucleated cells, we have had to include a nuclear signaling device so that, yes, it enters the nucleus do your job. ” In the case of the fight against the virus “it is not necessary”.

This system is the one that the Modern biotechnology laboratory is using, one of the most advanced in the development of a vaccine of this type against COVID-19, and which have been called mRNA-1273. In his particular case, the vaccine is based on mRNA introduction that produces protein S (from ‘spike’ in English) of the SARS-CoV-2, that is, the protein with which the coronavirus is anchored and directly accesses human cells.

On July 11, Moderna already explained in a press release that the phase 3 study protocol had been completed and expects a randomized trial with 30,000 participants. With this system time is saved because it is not necessary to “purify” in the laboratory the protein that would be generated in cells that we would make in a culture.

Another alternative when injecting, although it does not necessarily have to be an injected vaccine, It should be remembered that the polio vaccine is oral, they are DNA plasmid vaccines, one of the methods that is being investigated in Spain by the team of Vicente Lagarra of the CBMSO-CSIC.

Is about placing the gene that secretes the virus-specific antibody into what they call a “synthetic DNA ‘vehicle’ (a plasmid). This is then introduced into the human body and induces protection against infection. In other words, what you do is introduce DNA molecules synthesized in a laboratory with a part of the COVID-19 virus gene inside. This procedure experts point out that it can take longer than RNA vaccines, at least two months to start testing in mouse models.

For the time being, this procedure, as explained by the CSIC in a press release dated May 21, has been tested in a vaccine for ‘canine leishmaniasis’, an infectious disease of parasitic origin in animals. Among the advantages of having positive results, that “the industrial scaling process of the vaccine candidate has already been carried out previously, which would significantly advance the industrial phase of manufacturing, human testing and subsequent production

Sources

“What you need to know about the COVID-19 vaccine”, Gates Notes, April 30, 2020 “The encouraging results of a messenger RNA vaccine against COVID-19”, The Conversation, May 23, 2020Moderna advances the late-stage development of its vaccine (mRNA-1273) against COVID-19, Moderna, June 11, 2020Evolution of all the procedures carried out by Moderna: “Moderna’s work on a candidate for the COVID-19 vaccine”, Moderna “About mRNA-1273, Moderna’s potential vaccine against COVID-19”, Moderna, March 21, 2020 “A CSIC team is looking for a vaccine for Covid-19 that uses a coronavirus antigen to stimulate immunity”, Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC), May 21, 2020 Plasmid Explanation, National Institute for Human Genome Research, United States