A 2018 article about the possibility that viruses can evolve to evade vaccines is trending on social media. The article was shared online by the self-declared “inventor” of mRNA vaccines, who is a vocal opponent of COVID-19 vaccination, in a post claiming that COVID-19 vaccines are creating new variants. The post received nearly 19,000 engagements. While the article, which was published more than a year before SARS-CoV-2 was identified, argues that vaccine-driven evolution of viruses may be possible, there is no evidence that SARS-CoV-2 has evolved in this way. New COVID-19 variants develop when mutations occur during viral replication. Viruses can’t replicate outside of a host—in this case, human cells—so preventing a virus from infecting cells in the first place prevents it from reproducing and mutating.
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