#FakeNewsAlert: Nobel laureate claiming COVID-19-vaccination will kill people is untrue
A viral message doing the rounds on social media and messaging platforms claims that French virologist and Nobel Prize laureate Luc Montagnier said people who have been vaccinated for the coronavirus will die within two years. However, top fact-checking websites and science experts have declared it fake news and shunned the claims as baseless. Here's more on this.
What is the viral message all about?
The viral message is linked to a report in LifeSiteNews and carries the headline - "All Vaccinated people will die within 2 years." In the message, the virologist is quoted as saying, "There is no hope, and no possible treatment for those who have been vaccinated already. We must be prepared to incinerate the bodies...They will all die from antibody dependent enhancement (sic)."
LifeSiteNews is known for spreading misinformation
LifeSiteNews is a Canadian far-right anti-abortion advocacy and news publication. Earlier this month, the website was banned by Facebook for spreading misinformation about COVID-19, reported The News Minute. Snopes.com, a fact-checking platform, has in the past described the website as a "purveyor of misleading information."
What did Montagnier actually say about vaccinations?
Contrary to how his claims have been concluded by the website, Montagnier never actually said vaccinated people would die within two years. It should be noted that experts around the world have already warned that a slow and haphazard vaccination strategy would allow the virus enough time to mutate and lead to even deadlier waves of the pandemic, a case that's evident in India.
Vaccines reduce virus transmission and hence creation of variants: Expert
Top neuroscientist Dr. Sumaiya Sheikh has tweeted that these claims are without any merit. "The French laureate Luc Montagnier's message about vaccines creating new variants is FALSE. 1. Vaccines prevent transmission and inhibit the formation of new variants by inhibiting large scale viral replication. 2. The COVID-19 vaccine will not kill you within two years," Dr. Sheikh wrote.
'Absolutely fake,' says a top virologist
"It is absolutely fake. A lie can travel across the world faster than the truth can tie its shoes. The COVID-19 vaccine is safe and this claim is absolutely false," Dr. T Jacob John, a virologist from Vellore, told TNM.
PIB, other fact-checkers warn against the message
The Press Information Bureau has also termed the message as fake news. "An image allegedly quoting a French Nobel Laureate on #COVID19 vaccines is circulating on social media. The claim in the image is #FAKE. #COVID19 Vaccine is completely safe. Do not forward this image," the PIB tweeted. The Assam Police has also alerted people against the claim.
A long history of controversial statements
Montagnier received the 2008 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, along with two others, for the discovery of the HIV. However, he has since courted several controversies for his pseudo-scientific observations. Just last year, he had said the novel coronavirus is man-made and contains genetic material from HIV. Meanwhile, American expert Dr. Anthony Fauci recently said he is "not convinced" the virus developed naturally.