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No, the Vaccines Don’t Alter Your DNA

By May 15, 2021Commentary

I am going to deal with this in a separate post, because nothing frustrates me more than having people spread scientific misinformation.  I am going to approach this from both a common sense and a scientific perspective. I am going to address it once and not again, because I am not going to give people a platform to spread misinformation.  And I am going to start by saying, if you don’t want to get vaccinated, don’t get vaccinated.  But don’t do it because you buy into some bullshit conspiracy theory, or your risk assessment ability about the harms and benefits of vaccines is the same as that of the healthy 30 year-olds who spent the last year cowering in their basements because there is a one in a million chance that they might get infected and die.

I have mentioned this before.  I am co-founder of a company that manages cell and gene therapy for payers.  To do that you have to know something about the workings of DNA and genes.  For 30 years of my investing life I have been involved with life sciences companies that do sequencing and work in genomics.  So I have a good sense of what is possible and what isn’t.  If I thought an mRNA vaccine could change my DNA do you believe I would take it?

First the common sense, which for most of us is easily overridden by bias and fear.  Gene sequencing is incredibly cheap and incredibly fast now.  There are hundreds if not thousands of institutions capable of sequencing DNA.  Do you really think that if the vaccines were changing human DNA no one would have taken one of the tens and hundreds of millions of people who have received an mRNA vaccine and sequenced their DNA to demonstrate exactly where and what the change was?  Especially when there are scientists who are skeptical about vaccines.  It would be very simple and if it were happening, we would have heard about it now.  Second, those same techniques permit very rapid sequencing of the vaccine.  Anyone can get a vial of the vaccine and sequence it and understand exactly how it works.  Do you also really believe that among those thousands and thousands of researchers capable of doing this none of them would have identified the exact mechanism by which the vaccine supposedly could generate entrance into the nucleus and modify DNA?  And that that work would be replicated by others, and again, it would ultimately be shown to actually have happened in one single human being?  And finally, we literally have given hundreds of millions of people who have received mRNA vaccines.  You are walking around everyday seeing them, including me.  Do you actually believe that if their DNA was being modified, it wouldn’t have some pernicious effect and people wouldn’t be falling sick all around us?   For God’s sake use your brains and your common sense.  The vaccines have side effects, some serious but very rare, but modifying your DNA isn’t one of them.

Now for the science, which I have to simplify because the processes are just incredibly complex.  Let me start by saying that it is obvious that intentionally changing DNA is incredibly difficult.  For decades companies have spent billions of dollars trying to figure out how to do that, with very limited success.  Why is that (and why would you possibly believe that despite all this difficulty the mRNA vaccine scientists miraculously figured out a way to do it)?  Because our DNA is the most critical aspect of our biology and we have evolved a complex set of mechanisms to prevent our DNA from being modified except by a very controlled set of DNA repair mechanisms.  DNA resides in the nucleus of the cell.  The nucleus is surrounded by a nuclear membrane, whose main function is to segregate and protect DNA.  It has pores that very carefully control what goes in and out of the nucleus.  Proteins are made outside the nucleus, in the cytoplasm, in organelles called ribosome complexes. (Okay, another level of complexity, the ribosomes themselves are made in the nucleus and exported, so there is some protein-making machinery in the nucleus, but it serves limited purposes.  The vast majority of the working proteins for bodily functions are made in the cytoplasm.)  mRNA, whether transcribed from the DNA in the nucleus or introduced into the cell by the mRNA vaccines, finds the ribosomes and directs them to make the proteins encoded by the mRNA.  The vaccines tell the ribosomes to make all or some of the spike protein for CV-19.  Those proteins are then displayed on the cell surface where the immune system recognizes them as foreign and deploys defenses to destroy the proteins and generates “memory” cells to recognize the invader if it appears again.  Once the mRNA has done its job of putting the ribosome to work, it is degraded.

To modify the DNA in the nucleus by changing a gene so that when it is transcribed into mRNA it creates a different sequence which subsequently makes different proteins is just ridiculously hard.  (The fact that it is so hard is why people focus on just hijacking the ribosomes in the cytoplasm instead.)  The therapeutic benefits of being able to do this have been recognized for a very long time and many, many techniques have been attempted.  You have to be able to get into the cell, then make your way to the nuclear membrane without degradation, then convince a nuclear pore to let you in, then find the right spot on the incredibly long and complex DNA molecule, then be able to attach yourself to the DNA molecule and finally have some way to either modify the sequence of proteins in the DNA or snip out the sequence and replace it with the sequence you want there. This process is so difficult, that a lot of “gene” therapies don’t work by actually changing DNA, but more like the mRNA vaccines, by simply hijacking the ribosomes and telling them to make good versions of a functional protein that the person’s DNA currently makes in a bad form.  The gene therapy for SMA works in this manner.

There are viruses, called retroviruses, of which HIV is a notable example, that are capable of generating and using an enzyme called reverse transcriptase to turn their RNA into DNA and then use other enzymes called integrases to get thru the nuclear membrane and become “integrated” into DNA.  Those are truly scary viruses.  They aren’t changing the sequence of existing DNA; they are added as an additional element or integrated into it.  CV is not a retrovirus and does not have these capabilities; it does not create reverse transcriptase or integrase.  Scientists who speculate “well maybe it could figure out how to create or use reverse transcriptase or an integrase” are doing just that, speculating.  There is no in vivo, that is in the body, demonstration that either coronavirus or mRNA vaccines against coronavirus have this capability.  Again, there is no sequencing that has demonstrated that this has happened to a single human genome.  And getting through the nuclear membrane is a very difficult process involving escort or chaperone proteins that are filtered by the pores.  Being able to create this capability is simply extremely difficult.  It can be done, but rarely without serious potential side effects, which is why it is taking so long to develop true gene therapies.  At one level, when you read and study these processes you are simply amazed by the complexity, by the checks and balances, the feedback mechanisms.

So, no, I don’t believe at all that the mRNA vaccines have been intentionally given the capability to create or modify DNA that would be integrated into the host DNA and I don’t think there is anyway that they could functionally do that inside a cell, given their makeup.  And I am not going to spend more time trying to debunk an obviously BS theory about the mRNA vaccines are bad. As I said, make up any excuse you want for not getting vaccinated, or if your physician tells you there is a real health reason why you should avoid them, don’t get vaccinated.  I don’t care and I don’t think people should be forced to get vaccinated.  On the other hand, I do care that we stop living like hermits and that we return to caring about people’s mental and physical health holistically, and getting vaccinated is one way to help bring that about.

Join the discussion 15 Comments

  • David Krieg says:

    Thank you, again, for sharing your knowledge Kevin. I’ve saved almost every report you’ve sent us and I’m grateful to have your input.

  • Dan says:

    Can you recommend one vaccine over the others or at least J & J vs mRNA?

  • Darin Kragenbring says:

    I am curious if people who vehemently oppose the new mRNA vaccines would take the “traditional” Johnson & Johnson vaccine? My guess would be that most in that group of people feel the risk from catching the virus is negligible and thus would not. In that case, it’s admirable to be trying to save society from what they perceive as a grievous threat. My simple view is those cows have left the barn. We will ultimately see if there are any long term consequences from the new vaccines. In the meantime, I appreciate the informative post and agree that returning to normal is critical for our society.

  • Chris W says:

    Kevin,

    Thanks for bringing clarity to this topic. Excellent explanation. Two questions.

    On this statement, “Once the mRNA has done its job of putting the ribosome to work, it is degraded.” I recently heard a doctor on the radio state something similar and if I recall correctly, that after the mRNA has done it’s job that within x hours (maybe 24-48 after vaccination if I recall correctly) that it is no longer even “active” in the body. Is your statement addressing the same aspect?

    Given the practically zero risk of “young” people dying or having serious health consequences from C19, what are your current thoughts on those under 20 or so getting the vaccine? I thought in a previous post that you generally recommended they not get it, but I could be wrong. I ask in the context of my teenage children, especially my daughters, on the unknown “risk” of problems arising in the future that could perhaps interfere with their ability to have children, birth defects, etc. I’m not saying that any of that is a risk, but this type of vaccination is new and no one can know the long-term impact on the young who’s bodies are still developing.

  • Karl Nyhus says:

    I have not lived like a hermit these last 18 months. I have foregone wearing a mask every chance I got. I want to have a robust immune system. But the long term effects of the so-called vaccines (they don’t claim to prevent infection) are unknown to anyone at this point. Attempts to make a SARS vaccine for the last two decades were all abandoned. What’s different this time? No long term testing and no animal testing of the kind that revealed problems in the past.

  • Kevin Roche says:

    okay, you have to understand that the person years of study can to a large extend substitute for long studies in individual people. Most side effects would crop up by now if used in a large number of people, and now we are talking about hundreds of millions. And speculating about long-term effects without positing some causative mechanism that should be monitored is useless. Why would there be some long-term effect. Magically five years from now something will happen that was caused by a vaccine that degraded shortly after introduction into the body. The long-term effect is to boost your immune response. I don’t know what you are referring to in regard to infection, not only do they claim to prevent infection they absolutely clearly do prevent it in the vast majority of situations. The evidence couldn’t be clearer on that, including right here in Minnesota. And I don’t know what kind of past problems you are referring to.

  • Kevin Roche says:

    yes to the first question. In regard to the second, I have a lot of ambivalence about recommending that children get vaccinated without very large comprehensive studies, because the benefit to them is much lower and because they have immune systems and bodies that are still developing. Lots of things work differently and have different effects in children. I don’t think there is any reason to believe the vaccine could have an impact on gametes or child-bearing, but again, given the limited benefit, it wouldn’t take much of a concern to avoid vaccinating children.

  • Kevin Roche says:

    The J & J vaccine is also not “traditional”, i.e. derived from live or inactivated virus. It uses an adenovirus vector to deliver the protein-making instructions. Not sure why or if it has worse clotting side effects, for example. it appears to be less effective.

  • Alfred Benoit says:

    Thanks Kevin. That was helpful.

  • Karl Nyhus says:

    Mr. Roche, I am surprised at your dismissal of long term effects. I’m sure you are familiar with the following terms and their effects: immune enhancement, antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE), and pulmonary immunopathology. These issues have been found in previous coronavirus vaccine attempts (but not right away).

  • Kevin Roche says:

    what prior coronavirus vaccines and what type of vaccine? ADE is a phenomenon of infection, and I don’t believe has been observed in vaccination. Immune enhancement is typically used to refer to exactly what you want a vaccine to do, improve your adaptive and trained immune response to a pathogen. I have no idea what mRNA vaccination has to do with PI, which also is an effect of infection.

    The original SARS vaccine attempts were primarily with live attentuated vaccines, which is probably one of the reasons why mRNA was the preferred approach this time. You would also find that the lung damage found, in animal models, when viral challenge was presented after vaccination, was identical to that found with viral challenge after initial infection. So it wasn’t the vaccine, it likely was the much more severe nature of that original SARS virus, which fortunately wasn’t very transmissible. As I may have mentioned, I suspect the severity of SARS is what led scientists to start tinkering with it to make it more infectious.

  • Kevin Roche says:

    And the studies on SARS vaccines weren’t long-term studies so I don’t know where you get that from. They were very short term studies.

  • Nathan Simon says:

    Kevin thank you for another informative post. I have no doubt that your information is correct in this. If you wonder why some are sitting on the sidelines and not getting the vaccine it’s because of lack of trust in the overall information available. This is especially true about what we hear from government and big institutions. See mask mandates as an example.

    My family and I are not going to be participating in this experiment. I don’t believe they are microchipping people, cell phones already do that. We are not anti-vaxers, my kids are fully up to date with youth shots and we all get the yearly flu shot. The only vaccine we are probably not up to date in is our tetanus shots since we haven’t been to the ER in awhile. For us this purely an information trust issue and will be despite posts like this one.

  • J. Thomas says:

    I think this is a very simple choice at this point. If you’re not compromised in any of the known risk categories for this virus, wait and see how it plays out. The odds are on your side. The freak show at the CDC is starting to unravel, you can basically travel anywhere you want in the country with little or no BS and you can choose destinations that are governed by brilliant neanderthals. No one is actually abiding by the no-jab rules anyway (HIPPA has your back on this one) and as the virus runs out of steam/new hosts, there’s even lower odds that you’ll need it anyway. It’ll become an annual flu-like decision, which it should be. If you have international travel goals, push them back a year and if needed, get the jab with more long-term data available. I’m very respectful of all those who’ve gone first and paved the way for breaking the bureaucratic cycle we were in, but to each his/her own when it comes to their bodies and their medical decisions. Remembering that roughly 2% of the world’s population has had the virus so far, it’s been a scam from the beginning that I’m just not willing to participate in. God bless those who have …

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