January 31, 2023: Pfizer refuted allegations by Project Veritas, a media organization, in its ongoing COVID-19 vaccine work stating it has “not conducted gain-of-function” or “directed evolution research.”
Project Veritas had accused the US-based pharmaceutical company of “muting” the virus to “pre-emptively develop new vaccines” in a secret and heavily edited video.
“Working with collaborators, we have conducted research where the original SARS-CoV-2 virus has been used to express the spike protein from new variants of concern,” according to a Pfizer statement.
“This work is undertaken once a new variant of concern has been identified by public health authorities. This research provides a way for us to rapidly assess the ability of an existing vaccine to induce antibodies that neutralize a newly identified variant of concern.
“We then make this data available through peer reviewed scientific journals and use it as one of the steps to determine whether a vaccine update is required.”
In vitro work
Pfizer in a bid to meet U.S. and global regulatory requirements for its oral treatment, Paxlovid, had undertaken in vitro work or in a laboratory culture dish, to identify potential resistance mutations to nirmatrelvir, one of Paxlovid’s two components, it stated.
As the COVID-19 virus is evolving it is important to routinely assess the activity of an antiviral. Most of this work is conducted using computer simulations or mutations of the main protease–a non-infectious part of the virus.
In a limited number of cases when a full virus does not contain any known gain of function mutations, such virus may be engineered to enable the assessment of antiviral activity in cells, according to the statement.
In addition, in vitro resistance selection experiments are undertaken in cells incubated with SARS-CoV-2 and nirmatrelvir in the secure Biosafety level 3 (BSL3) laboratory to assess whether the main protease can mutate to yield resistant strains of the virus.
Required by FDA
“It is important to note that these studies are required by the US and global regulators for all antiviral products and are carried out by many companies and academic institutions in the U.S. and around the world,” according to the statement.
Fact-based information rooted in sound science is vitally important to overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic.
Project Veritas n was founded by James O’Keefe in 2010. Project Veritas has frequently been criticized for editing its videos to deceive its audience and misrepresent its subjects.
The organisation has targeted Democratic Party, teachers unions and Planned Parenthood, according to AFT Michigan, a union of 35,000 educators and healthcare providers.