Russia ‘spreads conspiracy theory’ that Covid vaccine ‘turns you into monkey’

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Russia has been accused of launching a smear campaign in a bid to discredit the coronavirus vaccine being developed by scientists at Oxford University, claiming it will turn people into monkeys.

Images and video clips have been circulating around social media with bizarre claims surrounding the jab.

The vaccine, which uses chimpanzee virus, is claimed to turn people into apes according to ridiculous information released online.

The claims say any vaccine developed in the UK will be dangerous, reports Mail Online.

False information was also shown on Russia's TV programme, Vesti News, which is the country's equivalent to BBC Newsnight.

One doctored image shows Prime Minister Boris Johnson walking in Downing Street as a Yeti, the image is captioned "I like my bigfoot vaccine."

It is thought the campaign has been launched in countries where Russia hopes to launch its own Sputnik V jab.

Speaking to BBC Radio Four's today programme, Professor Pollard, who is professor of Paediatric Infection and Immunity at the University of Oxford, said: "In this context we are in at the moment, any misinformation, where we are trying to think of an intervention that we can have in the future to help the pandemic, whether they are treatments or vaccine, anything that undermines that could be extremely dangerous.

"The type vaccine we have is very very similar to a number of other vaccines, including the Russian vaccine, all of which use the Common Cold virus from humans or from chimpanzees.

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"To our bodies, the viruses look the same.

"We don't actually have any chimpanzees involved at all in the process of making the vaccine, because it is all about the virus, rather than animals it might more commonly infect."

He added: "Our bodies doesn't look at the virus and say "this is from a chimpanzee or a human," it just sees a collection of proteins to make an immune response."

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According to a whistleblower, the campaign is set to appear on Western websites.

A spokesperson for the Russian embassy told the Times: "The suggestion that the Russian state may conduct any kind of propaganda against the Astrazeneca vaccine is itself an example of disinformation.

"It is obviously aimed at discrediting Russia's efforts in combating the pandemic, including the good cooperation we have established with the UK in this field."

  • Monkeys
  • Russia
  • Coronavirus

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