Report linking 5G to COVID-19 swiftly debunked

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"This paper made my jaw drop."

"It is just a wacko hypothesis."

"This article isn't so much a scientific paper as a representation of what a moron thinks a is."

"You haven't seen the stupidest published SARS-CoV-2 take yet [until you read this]. I PROMISE you."

The reception given to a recently published report claiming 5G transmissions could trigger human cells to create coronavirus has been less than stellar.

A team of researchers published a paper in PubMed, a free biomedical database, that suggested 5G millimeter waves "are similar to shapes of hexagonal and pentagonal bases of their DNA source" that "produce holes in liquids with the nucleus." Their conclusion: "These bases could join to each other and form virus-like structures such as coronavirus."

Despite the impressive-sounding credentials of the group—members of the Guglielmo Marconi University, Central Michigan University and First Moscow State Medical University—the paper drew swift condemnation for its wild conclusions and failure to support any of its research.

Elisabeth Bik, a former Stanford science consultant who specializes in science ethics, said that despite the paper's claims, there is nothing in the report that proves them. "It is absolute nonsense," she said.

Bik said the group is known for publishing fantastic and unsupported hypotheses. She cited previous questionable research by the group proposing wild theses such as that the chemical structure of DNA differs between males and females (it doesn't) and that "infecting a pregnant woman with male or female influenza viruses" can determine the gender of a fetus.

She termed their latest effort "a wacko hypothesis."

An incensed Bik said, "I invite everyone to rip this piece apart, and to urge NCBI [PubMed's parent company] to ban this journal to the far end of predatory territory."

Joel Hruska of ExtremeTech says the researchers "blatantly misrepresented the actual bands that mmWave 5G deployments use" and ridiculed the notion asserted by the authors that any radio wave could help a virus colonize the human body. He noted that one of the article's authors recently published a highly questionable paper claiming COVID-19 could be treated with a psoriasis medication based on results from a single asymptomatic patient.

"None of these authors has the standing or authority to speak to the causes of COVID-19, and the fact that this paper has appeared in the PubMed database or been linked by the NIH is evidence of serious methodological flaws in the approval process," Hruska said. "This isn't science. It's what people who don't actually practice the scientific method appear to think it looks like."

After an outpouring of criticism over the article, PubMed removed the controversial report from its database.

The release of such a sham report is troubling, especially now. It serves to fuel a growing movement among "low-information" citizens, a term increasingly used to describe people who cannot distinguish between legitimate news sources and utterly preposterous conspiracy sites populating the fringes of the internet. Such sites cast doubts on legitimate research and established facts, and spread malicious distortions of news events, science and health and create needless fear and doubt.

Furthermore, by littering the global consciousness with yet more phony science, it makes it more challenging for the public to distinguish between propaganda and genuine research highlighting potentially risky developments in an era witnessing rapid growth of low-frequency electromagnetic wave transmission.

5G will usher in a revolution in telecommunications. It promises lightning-fast internet connection speeds—up to 50 times current rates—far broader coverage, lower power consumption and greater integration among smart devices.

But the fact remains that there are no studies confirming the massive network required to set up 5G infrastructure will not affect health. There are currently 200,000 cellular towers supporting 4G LTE communications; 5G may well require millions of towers.

Most current safety regulations governing EMF exposure are based on research from the 1980s. But more than 500 studies since then, according to Scientific American, point to at least possible harmful effects of radiation. None is conclusive, but none completely exonerates RF waves, either.

As Leeka Kheifets, an epidemiology professor at UCLA, told the Los Angeles Times about EMF, "I don't think it's clear that there are health risks, but it's also not clear that there are no health risks."

The International Agency for Research on Cancer in 2011 declared radio frequency radiation a possible human carcinogen. Scientific American last fall called for a moratorium on 5G deployment and funding for more thorough research. And a group of 250 scientists recently urged the United Nations and World Health Organization to issue tougher guidelines on EMF to protect consumers' health.

We have sadly learned that the institutions responsible for products once deemed safe but later found to be harmful are not usually the ones to raise the first alarms. Cigarettes, food dyes, preservatives, pharmaceuticals, fracking operations, pesticides—it was only through diligent scientific probing and publicity by public interest groups that risks posed by products once deemed safe were ultimately exposed and the products or activity banned, modified or restricted.

The reckless publication of an absurd study serves to remind that wild claims of danger must be treated with reasoned skepticism, but so must unsupported assurances of benefits and safety by those who stand to profit from new, untested technologies.


Explore further

Retractions and controversies over coronavirus research show that the process of science is working as it should

More information: WITHDRAWN: 5G Technology and induction of coronavirus in skin cells, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32668870/

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Citation: Report linking 5G to COVID-19 swiftly debunked (2020, July 27) retrieved 8 August 2020 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-07-linking-5g-covid-swiftly-debunked.html
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