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COVID-19 Vaccines Q&A Part 4

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COVID-19 Vaccines Q&A Part 1, Part2, Part 3

Question

We hear some of the vaccines were made from parts of aborted babies. Is this true ?

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Answer:
It is NOT TRUE please!!!!
I first heard of this claim when a friend sent a video of a lady claiming that according to her WIKIPEDIA research, the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine for COVID-19 contained cells from an aborted human foetus. I’m not too sure why you’d want to trust a person quoting Wikipedia which anyone can edit as a source but let’s explain….

The video showed a picture of the packaging for the AstraZeneca-developed COVID-19 and then showed a document page which read: “We used direct RNA sequencing to analyse transcript expression from the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 genome in human MRC-5 and A549 cell lines……”

The user in the video then switched to a Wikipedia page for further research on this mention of MRC-5. She then pointed out this cell line was “originally developed from research deriving lung tissue of a 14-week-old aborted Caucasian male fetus” and then goes ahead to conclude that “one thing it definitely has is the lung tissue of a 14-week-old aborted Caucasian male foetus.”

She clearly did not understand what she had read. As I explained in Q3(A previous post), drug/vaccine development starts in the lab. In the lab, the drug/vaccine is tested on human/animal cells. The drug must be proven to work in these cells before scientists move to test the drug in full animals and eventually in humans. These cells are what she refers to as cell lines. They are cells which were originally collected many years ago and have been repeatedly grown/reproduced for continuous use in the lab. It is possible to reproduce cells in the lab once you have an original one. You just need to provide the right ingredients and cells are capable of splitting and reproducing themselves so if you extract for example monkey white blood cells, you can keep growing and using them to test your drug for years. You needn’t go back to extract new cells. Such cell lines have been in existence for decades and have helped scientists understand how the human body works and how drugs will interact with the body but do not form any part of the drug/vaccine. They are also sometimes used to reproduce viruses for research and drug production (I previously explained how viruses reproduce/give birth. Yes, most viruses are actually harmless and are used in vaccines). Cell lines may be animal or human derived. They may have been originally obtained from dead or living humans/animals. For example, cells from tumors which are removed after surgery may be harvested for such a purpose.

The cell lines the lady spoke of in the video were originally obtained during postmortem of an aborted foetus in the 1960s. It has since then been grown/reproduced in the lab so many times that what we have now is not even the original cell. It is used in many labs worldwide for testing drugs/vaccines before these drugs/vaccines are injected into animals and eventually humans for further trials . Let me repeat that these cells DO NOT FORM PART OF THE DRUG/VACCINE. The vaccine was tested on the cells to see how they will respond. Let me also add that the abortion wasn’t performed because some scientists wanted the cells. Pathologists during postmortems and examination of tissues taken out during surgery extract cells (all the time) to help them make diagnosis. If they find anything interesting, they apply through very regulated ethical means and with the consent of the individual/family keep such cells for further research.

So the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine was not developed using MRC-5 cell lines as the lady claimed. The study/research paper, she referred to is an independent study led by scientists at the University of Bristol to test the efficacy of the vaccine in these cells prior to human trials(link to this research publication is in the references). Had the vaccine not worked well in these cells, it would not have been tested in living humans and I think that’s quite simple to appreciate. I mention again that THE CELLS ARE NOT PART OF THE VACCINE!!!! The vaccine was only tested on the cells.

There is no lung tissue of an aborted male foetus in the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine for coronavirus. Kindly Ignore that rumor.

References for further understanding:
1) https://www.researchsquare.com/article/rs-94837/v1
2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7325846/

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