Russia spreads fake news claiming the Oxford coronavirus vaccine will ape people in a disinformation campaign on social media
- Russian propagandists target the Oxford vaccine with monkey membranes
- Designed to create confusion and fear in the population and broadcast on state television
- Show Boris Johnson as Bigfoot and Chimpanzee in AstraZeneca coat with a syringe
- Uncle Sam's famous poster is edited to say, "I want YOU to take a monkey vaccine."
A smear campaign has been launched in Russia to discredit the coronavirus vaccine developed by Oxford University scientists.
The aim is to spread fear of the vaccine with ridiculous claims that it will turn people into monkeys for using a chimpanzee virus.
Pictures and video clips are circulating on Russian social media suggesting that a vaccine made in the UK would be dangerous.
Some were shown on the Russian television program Vesti News, which supposedly corresponds to BBC Newsnight.
A disturbing depiction of Prime Minister Boris Johnson as "Bigfoot" walking through Whitehall with a folder labeled "AstraZeneca".
A picture shows Boris Johnson entering Downing Street, but it has been manipulated to make him look like a yeti. The picture is titled, "I like my Bigfoot vaccine".
Another picture shows a chimpanzee in a lab coat from pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca, who is making the vaccine and swinging a syringe.
America's Uncle Sam appears in another rough picture with the message, "I want you – to take the monkey vaccine".
The campaign has the potential to damage the Oxford program by targeting anti-vaccine fanatics.
The aim is to increase sales in countries where Russia wants to sell its own Sputnik V-butt.
Another picture shows a chimpanzee in a lab coat from pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca, who is making the vaccine and swinging a syringe
Last night, AstraZeneca's managing director Pascal Soriot condemned attempts to undermine its work.
He told The Times, “Scientists from AstraZeneca and many other companies and institutions around the world are working tirelessly to develop a vaccine and therapeutic treatments to combat this virus.
“However, it is independent experts and regulators around the world who ultimately decide whether a vaccine is safe and effective before it is approved for use. Misinformation is a clear public health risk.
“This is especially true during the current pandemic, which continues to kill tens of thousands, significantly disrupting the way we live and damaging the economy.
America's Uncle Sam appears in another rough picture with the message: "I want you – to take the monkey vaccine"
"I urge everyone to use reliable sources of information, trust regulators and remember the tremendous benefits that vaccines and drugs continue to bring to mankind."
A whistleblower reportedly said the aim of the smear was to put the pictures on western websites.
The campaign began over a month ago after a volunteer in the Oxford Process fell ill, which meant the project was temporarily suspended.
Countries such as India and Brazil, where Russia tried to commercialize its own vaccine, were affected by the campaign, the whistleblower told the Times.
It is not clear whether the attempted propaganda was approved directly by the Kremlin.
Sputnik V vaccine – the adenovirus vaccine, which is largely based on the same principles as Oxford's
The Sputnik V vaccine is marketed on its website as "the first registered Covid-19 vaccine on the market".
That's because it was registered by the Russian Ministry of Health on Aug. 11.
The name is an allusion to the Sputnik space program, with which the Soviet Union's first space satellite was launched in 1957.
Despite a disinformation campaign by Russia about the Oxford vaccine, it is largely based on the same principles.
Both are adenovirus vaccines. Standard vaccines show an inactivated version of the virus, which causes the body to make specific antibodies to fight the virus.
This helps the immune system learn how to create a response when the real virus enters the body.
But adenovirus vaccines are different. Viruses attack cells before using these pirated copies to replicate themselves. Viruses make people increasingly sick. Although adenoviruses can still attack cells, they don't self-replicate.
Therefore, scientists can ingest Covid-19, insert its genetic code that forms its tips, and insert it into the adenovirus.
The cells then produce copies of the coronavirus spike so the body can recognize and generate antibodies to the spike – without
Instead of copying themselves, the cells produce copies of the coronavirus spike. This is how your body learns to recognize the tip without the cells multiplying.