Science arguments: What scientists say to anti-vaxxers and covid-dissidents

Science arguments: What scientists say to anti-vaxxers and covid-dissidents

25 December 2020, 09:11
With the advent of several vaccines at once, covid dissidents changed the direction of their strike. If earlier they argued that there is no covid, and quarantine is harmful, now they raised the “harm” from vaccination to the banner of the fight against the governments and businesses.

Novye Izvestia discussed controversial issues with the scientists.

Yelena Ivanova, Natalia Seibil

2020 is not over yet, but there is already hope that the pandemic can be defeated. Hope has a name - the covid vaccine. Vaccinations have already begun with Pfizer-Bayontek, Moderna, Sputnik V, Sinovac and Sinopharm. But there are many doubters. In fact, anti-vaccination sentiments are not only in our country.

In Germany, for example, only 48% of the population is ready to be vaccinated. The rest either refuse or have not decided yet. In Russia, according to the estimates of the Higher School of Economics, every fourth Russian does not want to be vaccinated. On social networks, anti-vaccines seek and find doomsday prophets, conspiracy theorists of pharmaceutical companies and governments, and fighters against gene mutations from vaccines. Groups have been created on VKontakte, one of them is "The Truth About Vaccinations". The fighters against the worldwide conspiracy call the vaccination that has begun in Moscow a "biological experiment." Institute named after Gamalei has been targeted following an agreement with Oxford vaccine manufacturer AstraZeneca to collaborate on vaccine development. Citizens hooked on TV to fight the West instantly react.

Sergej Dobreew is indignant: “What ?! Why are ours so sagging under them? But what about sovereignty? Or. when necessary, then we have sovereignty-sovereignty of hoo, but it turns out, if something, then well, it will be sovereign entot, so what? And if these foes from the decaying west, what kind of a whisk will mix us here? Who will check if it is sabotage? " (spelling of the author of the post - "NO") The efforts of the authorities and employers to reason with the doubters and send them to be vaccinated "in Russian", with the help of threats and deprivation of prizes, the fighters stigmatize. Duma deputies are also not spared.

Galina Schewelewa writes: "Let those who pass moronic laws start with themselves, including the whole gang of watering cans: Gates, Schwob, Rockefeloers and others with them, as well as their families!"

Citizens scare each other with millions of vaccine deaths and demand a 100% guarantee from manufacturers.

Alexey Agranovsky , Doctor of Biological Sciences, Professor of the Department of Virology, Faculty of Biology, Moscow State University, believes that the pandemic, which actually exists, is accompanied by "infodemic". Each newscast opens with a message on how many people have died from covid. On the Internet, conspiracy theorists received a platform for attracting likes, attention and advertising:

"As for "taking control of humanity" by means of mass vaccination - this is obscurantism, and, unfortunately, it is spreading".

This is inevitable, because the Internet, which gives freedom and the speed of information dissemination, also spreads all kinds of nonsense and wrong ideas.

Vaccine and genome

Covid dissidents are especially concerned about the German-American vaccine from Pfizer. It is built on a platform different from Russian vaccines and uses RNA to deliver information about the virus to the human body, which causes it to produce antibodies. Dmitry Kuprash, Doctor of Biological Sciences, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Chief Researcher at the Engelhardt Institute of Molecular Biology, explains that the technology itself, even theoretically, cannot lead to the incorporation of genetic material into the genome:

- The Pfizer vaccine contains a single RNA that encodes the spike protein of the coronavirus, and it is quite similar in structure to thousands of our own messenger RNAs and cannot integrate into the genome in any way.

This is the first RNA vaccine, so far they have not been used anywhere. Potential side effects are unknown, but also not obvious in advance, says Alexey Agranovsky. If a person was healthy at the time of vaccination, nothing will happen to him:

- Introduction of short-lived RNA into cells is no more "genetic change" of the organism than classical vaccination. Killer cells act constantly, some of the cells die under their attack - this is a completely natural process. It is true that one patient in a thousand can have serious side effects. This is a common problem of vaccination, around which, in fact, the vicious ideology of anti-vaccination people is built. Conclusion: you need to study and know the consequences, but you can not refuse vaccination.

Dmitry Kuprash is well acquainted with the research of the scientists who developed the vaccine for Pfizer. They've been with this technology for 15 years and have been developing it to produce therapeutic vaccines for cancer treatment. His colleague, biologist Maria Lagarkova, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Head of the Cell Biology Laboratory of the Federal State Budgetary Institution FMCC FHM FNBA, Professor of the Faculty of Biology, Moscow State University. M.V. Lomonosov, she wonders why people talk about someone else's vaccine for so long:

- And if we are to satisfy the curiosity of those people who are interested in what an RNA vaccine is, then this approach was invented in order to just fight cancer, that is, some vaccines that are being developed against cancer. It is assumed that they will also be done in this way. But the most interesting thing, just as we all the time all the time discussing elections in America, Ukraine, we are also discussing ... the vaccine, which will not get to us.

And what about our Russian vaccine? The Sputnik V vaccine also lacks a mechanism for insertion into the genome, because it is based on an adenovirus that cannot integrate into the human genome. Ideologically, Sputnik is not much different from the Pfizer vaccine. The only difference is in the method of delivery of RNA encoding the coronavirus spike protein into our cells, says Dmitry Kuprash:

- And, by the way, with the vaccine being developed by the Chumakov Institute of Poliomyelitis and Viral Encephalitis, everything should also be fine, because it is made on the basis of an inactivated virus. It uses a whole coronavirus, which could have built in if it had not been treated with special chemistry, making it "sterile." Some combination of chemistry and temperature is used in the production of the vaccine, the developers have not yet told which one, but it probably "spoils" the genome of the virus.

Big Pharma and seasonal flu

Larisa Popovich, Director of the Institute of Health Economics at the Higher School of Economics, recalls that, in addition to the RNA vaccine, the remaining platforms are like viral vectors, or an artificial protein, or the vaccine of the Institute of Poliomyelitis and Viral Encephalitis named after M.P. Chumakov, are well known:

- With regard to our vaccines, I think these are great achievements. Besides, Big Pharma has nothing to do with it. This is initially the result of searches by research teams, fairly well publicized, fairly open results, and Big Pharma is just a platform for their admission into circulation.

Maria Lagarkova considers talk of a global conspiracy and bad pharmaceutical concerns, which deliberately provoked the covid pandemic in order to make money, outright delirium. Pharmaceutical companies have enough orders, a lot of money and a lot of tasks. The plot to produce a new vaccine is a funny story, says the scientist.

We live in capitalism and we understand that any enterprise working in a particular area wants to make a profit. Pharmaceutical companies are no exception, and they are chasing profits. But it is not worth exaggerating their influence on society either, notes Alexey Agranovsky:

- To argue that the pandemic was planned in Davos, and the virus is man-made ... Forgive me, no one wants to go to prison for life, and no one would start such discussions at the economic forum. To have such ominous plans, I don't think it's real. They are not averse to making money, which is natural, but to do it with such steps, it is incredible, there is no world conspiracy.

Larisa Popovich suggests that the voices of those whose relatives and friends did not die or get sick, and they simply did not see what was happening in intensive care, sound especially loud. But now to be a covid dissident, when almost everyone in their environment has sick and dead, is simply strange.

The list of friends and close people for these six months has been greatly reduced, and many have turned into memories, Maria Lagarkova sighs:

- It doesn't matter what kind of vaccine a person is vaccinated, but I want to say that the same active anti-vaccines do not get sick precisely because, thank God, there are more people who vaccinate their children, and therefore an infectious environment is simply not created. They are still alive, these anti-vaccines, only because other people are vaccinated.

It is necessary to vaccinate at least because not to kill our loved ones, scientists are sure. And yet - it is important to leave commenting on "high biology" to specialists. The voices of skeptics are just as important as those of advocates of progress, but a significant consequence of the discussion is a question of style, Alexey Agranovsky is sure:

"The full availability of information in the 21st century has given rise to unprecedented opportunities for manipulating public opinion and new obscurantism. Vaccination issues should be discussed not in a sectarian spirit ("they hide everything from you, we bring you the truth"), but in a demonstrative manner".

It is clear that this is difficult. It is almost impossible to reach out to covid dissidents, but doubters can be convinced. We must try.

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