a new study by MIT and Harvard scientists demonstrates that segments of the RNA from the coronavirus itself are most likely becoming a permanent fixture in human DNA. (study linked below). This was once thought near impossible, for the same reasons which are presented to assure us that an RNA vaccine could accomplish no such feat. Against the tides of current biological dogma, these researchers found that the genetic segments of this RNA virus are more than likely making their way into our genome. They also found that the exact pathway that I laid out in in my original article is more than likely the pathway being used (retrotransposon, and in particular a LINE-1 element) for this retro-integration to occur.
And, unlike my previous blog where I hypothesize that such an occurrence would be extremely rare (mainly because I was attempting to temper expectations more conservatively due to the lack of empirical evidence), it appears that this integration of viral RNA segments into our DNA is not as rare as I initially hypothesized. It’s difficult for me to put a number on the probability due to data limitations present in the paper, but based on the frequency they were able to measure this phenomenon in both petri dishes and COVID patients, the probability is much greater than I initially anticipated. Due to this current research, I now place this risk as a more probable event than my original estimation.
To be fair, this study didn’t show that the RNA from the current vaccines is being integrated into our DNA. However, they did show, quite convincingly, that there exists a viable cellular pathway whereby snippets of SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA could become integrated into our genomic DNA. In my opinion, more research is needed to both corroborate these findings, and to close some gaps.
That being said, this data can be used to make a conjecture as to whether the RNA present in an RNA vaccine could potentially alter human DNA. This is because an mRNA vaccine consists of snippets of the viral RNA from the genome of SARS-CoV-2; in particular, the current mRNA vaccines harbor stabilized mRNA which encodes the Spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, which is the protein that enables the virus to bind to cell-surface receptors and infect our cells.