Georgian anti-vaxxers disseminate disinformation from Steve Hotze

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On March 23, Facebook user Khatuna Saginashvili published a video depicting American doctor Steve Hotze speaking about COVID-19 vaccines. According to Hotze, the so-called COVID-19 vaccine actually operates differently from the traditional vaccine and is experimental gene therapy.

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Disseminated video about vaccines contains several pieces of disinformation and unsubstantiated claim.

Disinformation N1: Coronavirus vaccine is actually a dangerous experimental gene therapy
Fact N1: Mechanism of action of COVID-19 vaccines differs from the one of gene therapy

In the video, Steve Hotze says that the coronavirus vaccine is actually a gene therapy and pharmaceutical companies pass it off as a vaccine to avoid responsibility for the adverse effects. In reality, COVID-19 RNA vaccines are not associated with gene therapy since they do not cause any type of gene alteration or replacement. U.S National Library of Medicine describes gene therapy as a technique that allows doctors to treat a patient by inserting a gene into a patient’s cells instead of using drugs or surgery. In gene therapy, a mutated gene that causes the disease can be replaced with a healthy copy of the gene,” mutated gene can be inactivated “knocked-out, a new gene can be introduced into the body to help fight a disease. Gene therapy is only used in the treatment of genetic and cancerous diseases when there is no other cure.

According to the U.S Center for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19 mRNA vaccines don’t cause genetic changes since this molecule doesn’t interact with human DNA. DNA in the cell nucleolus is a human ++ genetic material. During the protein synthesis, a particular enzyme breaks the double-stranded DNA molecule in half, and afterward, messenger RNA (mRNA) is produced. The mRNA in the cytoplasm translates the code into protein through the ribosome. When instructions on the synthesis of viral spike proteins is introduced into the body, ribosome in cells starts to build spike proteins. Produced protein will stick to the surface of our cells and stimulate the immune system. The ribosome that translates RNA into protein is in the cytoplasm and not the cell nucleus, thus RNA molecule cannot affect genetic materials inside the nucleus.

Read more about the mechanism of action of RNA vaccines in the old publications of “Myth Detector”:
Coronavirus vaccines – myths and reality
Side effects from Pfizer and Moderna are rare, while RNA technology is safe

Disinformation N2: COVID-19 vaccines don’t correspond to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s definition of what is a vaccine Fact N2: COVID-19 vaccine’s mechanism of action and efficacy corresponds to the definition of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention

At the beginning of the video, Hotze recalls the definition of the U.S Center for Disease Control and Prevention, which says vaccine stimulates the development of the human immune system against the disease. He says that the coronavirus vaccine differs from the traditional vaccines since it contains an RNA vector that starts the synthesis of parts of coronavirus proteins once it enters the body. Hotze says that it’s not clear how long will the proteins be produced or if it will ever stop the process, thus the immune system will be hyper-charged causing Antibody-dependent Enhancement (ADE) in people.

According to the U.S Center for Disease Control and Prevention, coronavirus vaccines teach the immune system how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. ”Pfizer” and “Moderna” vaccines, authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, demonstrated 95% and 94.1% efficacy, whereas “AstraZeneca” showed 74%. Therefore, Hotze’s claim that COVID-19 vaccines don’t stimulate immunity and hence, don’t’ correspond to the vaccine’s definition is false.

As for the RNA technology-based vaccines causing “Antibody-dependent Enhancement” and hyper-charging immune system, this claim is unsubstantiated and cannot be confirmed with existing empirical data on vaccines.

Read more on this topic:
Georgian anti-vaxxers pass off a hypothetical scenario of Belgian virologist as a reality

Disinformation N3: As of February 14, 934 people died as a result of a vaccine including famous baseball player Hank Aaron.
Fact N 3: Baseball player died of natural causes, while the correlation between patients’ deaths and vaccination wasn’t confirmed in the U.S.

Baseball player Hank Aaron died on January 22, 2021, at the age of 86. According to medical examinations and autopsy, he died of natural causes and his death wasn’t linked to COVID-19 vaccination. According to USA Today, the cause of Aaron’s death was a stroke, whereas the director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia noted to “Politifact” that it’s implausible for the COVID-19 Moderna vaccine to cause a stroke.

More than 92 million doses of vaccine were administered in the U.S from December 14, 2020, to March 8, 2021. In this period, VAERS received 1637 (0,0018%) death reports of vaccinated people. No link between the death of patients and vaccination was confirmed following the review and evaluation of each death case by CDC and FDA doctors.

Read more about the topic in the old publication of “Myth Detector”:
What is VAERS and What do We Know about COVID-19 Vaccination in the U.S?

Other false information voiced in the video
American doctor voiced the false information about vaccines and coronavirus that has been previously fact-checked by “Myth Detector”:

Disinformation N4: COVID-19 vaccine has not passed clinical trials and people who vaccinate are guinea pigs.
Fact N4: Coronavirus vaccines have passed all required phases of the trial.

The U.S. pharmaceutical company Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine has passed 3-phase trials and its efficacy, safety, and immune response was tested on 30 000 people. According to the document by the U.S Food and Drug Administration, “Moderna” vaccine showed 94,1% efficacy, it received authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on December 18, 2020, whereas the authorization from European Medicines Agency (EMA) was issued on January 6.

Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine that received Emergency Use Authorization has also passed all 3 phases of the trial, read more:
Information That the FDA Has Not Approved Pfizer’s Vaccine is False

Disinformation N5: Technology used for COVID-19 RNA vaccines hasn’t been tested on humans, but only animals so far.
Fact N5: RNA technology-based vaccines has been studied on animals, as well as humans

The development of RNA-based vaccines started in the 1990s and the technology of COVID-19 RNA vaccines is based precisely on this long-term experience. Moderna and Pfizer’s German partner BioNTech has worked on developing vaccines against cancer and various infectious diseases using this technology for more than 10 years now, while their studies are carried out on animals, as well as humans.

Read more:
Anti-Vaccine Doctors Spread Disinformation about Vaccines and Coronavirus

Disinformation N5: COVID-19 vaccines contain embryonic cells aborted in the ’70s.
Fact N 5: COVID-19 vaccines don’t contain aborted embryonic cells.

COVID-19 vaccines don’t contain aborted embryonic cells. Pulmonary cells from an aborted embryo are used in the pre-clinical studies of the vaccine to determine the vaccine’s effect on human cells. Human aborted embryonic cells were isolated in the 1970s, however, the abortion was voluntary and didn’t occur for study purposes. Afterward, cells were replicated in the lab and present studies are also based on the replicated cells, thus studies do not require new aborted embryos. It’s only used in the production, after which vaccines are purified to remove the cell culture materials.

Read more:
What do We Know about Vaccine Ingredients?
Neither Vaccines, nor Food Products by Nestle, Kraft, or PepsiCo Contain Cells from an Aborted Embryo

Who is Steve Hotze?

Steve Hotze is an American doctor who founded the treatment center Health & Wellness Center International One in 1989. The center’s webpage reads that treatment method are based on hormone therapy and immunity boost. In the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s warning letter to Steve Hotze, sent in December 2020, we found out that the doctor sells the drugs ((Dr. Hotze’s Immune Pak, Dr. Hotze’s Immune Pak for Adults, Dr. Hotze’s Kids Immune Pak, Dr. Hotze’s Teen Immune Pak), on the webpage (www.hotzevitamins.com), which are intended to treat, prevent and diagnose COVID-19. According to the letter, these drugs aren’t approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and are also misbranded, therefore it’s prohibited to commence.

FDA calls for Hotze to immediately cease the sale of unapproved and unauthorized products for the mitigation, prevention, treatment, diagnosis, or cure of COVID-19.

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Violation: Disinformation
Country: USA
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