The Falsehood That American COVID-19 mRNA Vaccines Are “Gene Therapy”.
A Deliberate Professional Mischaracterization Or A Malicious Propaganda Attack On American Public Health?
I find myself in the unfortunate position of having to publicly defend the COVID-19 vaccine against what I know to be a false characterization or malicious propaganda. Either way, I know this will harm American public health by stoking irrational fear of the mRNA vaccine in the subset of the public that is un-immune and could, thus, benefit from choosing vaccination.
I say that I am in an “unfortunate position”, because I’ve already had to take an adversarial position against the way the Biden administration’s FDA and CDC are allowing the deployment of a “one-size-fits-all” approach to vaccination of the American public.
My position puts me in the tight rope centrist position of being neither mindlessly for, or irrationally against, the COVID-19 vaccine program. But I know with definitive certainty that my balanced position is exactly where rational and effective public health policy resides. I hope the reader can accept this statement at face value and not assume it to be a conceited one.
To be clear, I’ve expressed repeatedly in the public domain that unnecessary or marginally beneficial, rushed and mandated vaccination of the recently infected, COVID-recovered and naturally immune is unethical and avoidably dangerous to a minority subset of unsuspecting Americans. I have been defending this position with all the capacity I have to bear as a physician-immunologist, a public health advocate and a citizen of the United States, for whatever it’s been worth thus far in the pandemic.
I know that it is possible to safely and ethically balance and maximize the definitive utilitarian immunological benefit of the COVID-19 vaccines to society, while minimizing medical harm from unnecessary or high risk vaccinations.
But, it is also undeniable to me that when any force uses false information to maliciously disrupt a utilitarian social good in a democratic republic, it must be rebutted and debunked — though certainly not censored in America. Because at an extreme, irrational or unethical disruption of utilitarian public health processes and policies, like the COVID-19 vaccine program, is a far greater evil and threat to the health, safety and security of the nation and the free markets — greater than even “minority harm”, which is what I consider myself to be a guardian against in public health, by virtue of my educational and life experiences.
Unfortunately, I have come across just such a propaganda force attempting to falsely damage the COVID-19 vaccine program now.
So here, I write to debunk the notion promoted by a few purveyors of false information, that the American COVID-19 mRNA vaccines, created by Operation Warp Speed under orders from President Trump, are “Gene Therapy”. This is a falsehood that is being used to stoke irrational fear of the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines in American and the western hemisphere.
As an immunologist, I am very well familiar with the incredible feat of medical technology the mRNA vaccines are — and I am nearly certain that these type of vaccine will transform our ability to control future pandemics rapidly and hopefully to cure cancer in a personalized way.
Though as a centrist conservative with empathy for the least amongst us I was a critic of the Trump administration’s behavior in many civil domains, I am certain that Operation Warp Speed’s decision to develop an mRNA vaccine was 100% correct. This vaccine is a Trump achievement, which history will judge to have been a great good for the world.
So, when I hear misguided or floridly malicious mischaracterizations of the mRNA vaccine from various so-called “experts”, who seem to be nothing more than jaded characters in search of fame, notice, or revenge, it becomes critical to rebut and debunk their bullshit!
I won’t name any names, but I think the “expert” purveyors of this false information know exactly who they are.
Let’s be clear “Gene Therapy” is a molecular approach aimed at correcting disease caused by a genetic deficit at the genomic DNA level. So “Gene Therapy” technologies, like CRISPR or the viral gene transfer systems actually aim to change or add DNA sequences to the genetic code content of the patient.
American mRNA vaccines are NOT “Gene Therapy”, because they do not aim to nor can they, change the content of a cell’s DNA. PERIOD!
Furthermore, the Spike mRNA is not even a diseased human gene to be “treated” or “corrected” by “Gene Therapy”.
In general, mRNA is a highly unstable and transient ditto copy of a gene on its way to directing the synthesis of the specific protein it encodes by the cell’s ribosomal machinery. Once mRNA is transcribed to protein by the ribosome enzyme complex, the mRNA transcript itself literally degrades and dies. In fact, there’s a reason why the mRNA vaccines need to be stored is such cold temperatures: mRNA is very unstable and short-lived at room and body temperatures. And in the form delivered by the mRNA vaccine, it has no capacity to be reverse transcribed to DNA or be integrated into the host’s DNA. NONE!
Bottom line is that the mRNA vaccine do not alter the genetic content of the vaccine recipient at the DNA level. ZERO CHANCE!
So, for anyone, especially folks with MDs or PhDs attached to their names, to claim that the mRNA vaccines are “Gene Therapy” is totally false. It’s a lie!
Now if a layperson claims such a thing, one can correct their error in characterization by providing the above explanation of scientific reality.
BUT, when a so-called “expert” does so, one is left asking two questions:
- Is this person a real “expert”? Does he/she understand what “Gene Therapy” actually is and what process these words were coined to describe? or,
- Is this person intentionally or maliciously concocting a public narrative to fear-monger and dissuade the already skeptical subset of the American population from getting vaccinated?
The bottom line is this: using terminology that likely instills irrational or incorrect fears of a utilitarian public health practice in the general population, especially when directed at a subset of citizens who are already skeptical or fearful, is a danger to America’s public health — and thus to American national security at the time of a pandemic.
It is my personal belief that three categories of people are spreading dangerous false information to the American public about Operation Warp Speed’s COVID-19 mRNA vaccines being a “Gene Therapy”:
A) Laypersons with a public platform, who parrot out jargon used by so-called “experts”, whom they incorrectly believe to be credible and accurate,
B) Persons with professional regalia, MDs and PhDs, who are not expert immunologists or molecular biologists, and whose egos lead them to believe that they understand a topic they have no real grasp of, or
C) Actual “experts”, who for personal reasons (perhaps mental derangement, or revenge for past exclusions or competition), are nefariously and maliciously aiming to disrupt the mRNA vaccine roll-out.
Of the three categories of persons spreading the “Gene Therapy” falsehood, category A is most innocent and amenable to reason and correction. This category includes influential public media personalities, who have audiences of Americans who love and respect them.
Category B, is ruled by ego. Though some such professionals might be able to shift out and learn the correct jargon and scientific/ethical perspective they lack, most are slaves to their enormous egos — certainly none are “expert” immunologists or molecular biologists with a grasp of “Gene Therapy”.
Category C, is the worst kind of charlatan. Because the “experts” in this category are compromising America’s public health for the sake of revenge or fame, despite knowing full well the falsehood they are spreading and its likely cost to American lives. This category is the worst of all — and unless they are demonstrated to be mentally ill, their conduct could very likely classify as being criminal.
In summary, I write this public letter in hopes of correcting the public record: the American COVID-19 mRNA vaccines are NOT “Gene Therapy”. Those who characterize the vaccines as such are either naive, ignorant or nefarious — and if enough people in our democracy accept their false characterization and reject a scientifically powerful and effective utilitarian public health practice through which their very lives could be saved, then our republic could be irreparably damaged.
To be clear, as a physician and immunologist in the United States, I am vehemently against forced or coerced vaccination of the American public — because I respect the ethical principle of autonomy. I am also definitively against rushed and mandated vaccination of persons who are COVID-19 recovered and naturally immune — because I understand the critical importance of establishing medical necessity in order to maximize public safety. And I am for protecting identifiable persons at risk of complication from the vaccine — because I understand the principle of non-maleficence in medical ethics.
But, I have no illusion that those “experts” who misrepresent the American COVID-19 mRNA vaccines’ utilitarian immunological benefit to the vast majority of un-immune Americans, and who are willing to use false characterizations or guesswork to dissuade Americans from getting vaccinated against a pandemic virus, pose a grave threat to our republic and her wellbeing.
Let is be known that as an immunologist, physician and public health advocate with a deep grasp of “minority harm” in American healthcare, I am warning the public about credible appearing “experts” who are labeling our American COVID-19 mRNA vaccines as being “Gene Therapy” — in order to disrupt the pandemic vaccine program.
THIS, is a nefarious falsehood that will actively harm the citizens of our nation, if it dissuades non-immune Americans from getting vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2.
Let us pray that our democracy can rationally and ethically deploy a serious defensive utilitarian public health weapon against a pandemic virus, while minimizing “minority harm” and adhering strictly to the principles of medical ethics: Beneficence, non-maleficence, Justice and autonomy.
In defense of US public health and our children’s future,
Hooman Noorchashm MD, PhD