On Monday, Newsmax White House correspondent Emerald Robinson, a regular source of false information, tweeted that the COVID-19 vaccines contain a “bioluminescent marker called luciferase so that you can be tracked.” The tweet was widely shared before being removed from Twitter for violating the platform’s guidelines. A screenshot of the now-deleted tweet continues to spread on social media, calling attention to Robinson, but not validating the claim.
The claims that the COVID-19 vaccines contain luciferase and that the substance can be used to track people, is false.
Luciferase is not listed as an ingredient in the Moderna vaccine, the Pfizer vaccine, or the Janssen vaccine put out by Johnson & Johnson according to the CDC, which lists out the active and inactive ingredients for all the approved COVID-19 vaccines.
It is true, however, that luciferase has been used in some COVID-19 research. For example, scientists at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston have used fireflies, which use bioluminescence for mating purposes, to develop faster COVID-19 diagnostic tests. The light-producing enzyme helps scientists see COVID-19 antibodies more quickly.
As Alexandra Becker explained in an article for University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston: “researchers harnessed luciferase to develop faster diagnostic testing through innovative assays—investigative procedures that measure the activity or amount of a substance. The lab can now visually confirm the presence of antibodies that can block a SARS-CoV-2 infection earlier than through previous methods.”
It’s also worth noting that Newsmax distanced itself from Robinson’s claims, and made the following statement to Mediaite: “Newsmax is a strong proponent that Covid 19 vaccines are overarchingly safe and effective. while at the same time raising concerns that mandates infringe on personal liberty and privacy. We have seen no evidence to suggest LUCIFERASE or LUCIFERIN are present in any vaccines or that they are used as any sort of bioluminescent marker.”
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