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Newly Announced HIV Strain in the Netherlands Is Unrelated to COVID-19

Dina Faisal Dina Faisal
9th February 2022
Newly Announced HIV Strain in the Netherlands Is Unrelated to COVID-19

The Claim

The COVID-19 vaccine caused the new HIV strain discovered in the Netherlands.

Emerging story

Social media users are circulating a claim that the COVID-19 vaccine has caused a new strain of HIV to be discovered in the Netherlands. Some users add that this is because HIV proteins were used to stabilize the in vitro mRNA used in the COVID vaccine, while others said that the SARS-CoV-2 virus itself had the same proteins as HIV.

Misbar’s Analysis

Misbar looked into the claim and discovered it to be false. Misbar previously debunked the claim that the COVID-19 virus causes HIV/AIDS, but neither the vaccine nor the COVID-19 virus causes the new HIV variant. While a new strain of HIV was announced in the Netherlands, this strain had nothing to do with the vaccine or the COVID-19 virus. The HIV variant known as the "VB" variant (for virulent subtype B) differs significantly from previous variants. It has a higher viral load, causes immune system damage more quickly, increases the risk of AIDS more quickly, and has a higher transmission rate.

Although the variant was announced recently and during the COVID-19 pandemic, it had been in circulation for a long time before COVID-19. According to the study, which was published on the 3rd of February 2022 in the journal Science, "genetic sequence analysis suggests that this variant arose in the 1990s from de novo mutation, not recombination, with increased transmissibility and an unfamiliar molecular mechanism of virulence."

According to an Oxford University news release, the researchers estimate that the VB variant first arose during the late 1980s and early 1990s in the Netherlands. They added that it spread faster than other HIV strains in the 2000s but has slowed since 2010. The VB variant arose despite widespread treatment in the Netherlands, not because of it, according to researchers.

Based on these findings, Misbar confirms that the newly announced HIV variant has no link to the COVID-19 virus or the vaccine. An HIV vaccine based on Moderna's mRNA platform is currently in clinical trials and should deliver genetic instructions and trigger an immune response against the virus.

Misbar’s Classification


Misbar’s Sources

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