Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

This is by far the stupidest coronavirus ‘study’ ever published

Published Jul 24th, 2020 3:10PM EDT
Coronavirus Transmission
Image: Christoph Dernbach/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

If you buy through a BGR link, we may earn an affiliate commission, helping support our expert product labs.

  • The novel coronavirus spreads via droplets and aerosols, and the virus isn’t affected by things like weather or seasonality. But the craziest COVID-19 conspiracy theory so far links the illness to 5G cellular tech.
  • A puzzling new “study” titled “5G Technology and induction of coronavirus in skin cells” was published in PubMed and then retracted.
  • The “research” doesn’t prove anything through actual experiments but could further fuel conspiracy theories.

Like Voldemort, there is a man whose name shouldn’t be uttered, and he delivered a massive blow to modern medicine back in 1998. This person wrote a paper that will hinder prevention campaigns for the novel coronavirus in the coming months. He is none other than Andrew Jeremy Wakefield, the British physician who linked the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine to autism in an infamous 1998 study. The research was retracted some 12 years later in 2010, as researchers discovered severe issues with the way Wakefield handled his patients and conducted his investigation. But the harm was already done. Anti-vaxxers have grown in numbers in recent years, and some of them will resist getting whatever COVID-19 vaccines become available.

Fast forward to July 2020 and I’ll point you to the most idiotic coronavirus study that has been released so far. The title alone will be enough to send your eyes rolling back into your head: 5G Technology and induction of coronavirus in skin cells. If left unchecked, this is the kind of “research” that can do a lot of harm in the coming months and years. COVID-19 will not go away anytime soon and conspiracy theories are already making the jobs of officials looking to contain the pandemic harder than they should be. It won’t be long until people who think 5G is related to the surge in coronavirus cases start peddling this study to prove its claims. That’s actually the reason why everyone needs to be aware of the study right now, especially considering that it was already retracted. This particular topic doesn’t have to be censored but it does need to be taken seriously, and other researchers should absolutely review the claims so they can expose all the falsehoods as soon as possible. In the current climate, there’s no way we can wait 12 years for it to be debunked.

We’ve been covering all sorts of coronavirus studies to keep you informed of the world’s progress on containing and defeating the illness. Some of the studies delivered good news and others were bleaker. Many studies have been verified by additional work, and others had to be retracted. Others were more sensational and equally conspiratorial as the 5G study covered here. But we’ve discussed them all and signaled the fact that more often than not, more research is required to prove the initial findings. We’ve made that clear, especially with studies that were released in pre-print form and hadn’t been reviewed by peers.

But what’s surprising about the 5G study is that it was published in PubMed initially, where you can still see the following abstract:

In this research, we show that 5G millimeter waves could be absorbed by dermatologic cells acting like antennas, transferred to other cells and play the main role in producing Coronaviruses in biological cells. DNA is built from charged electrons and atoms and has an inductor-like structure. This structure could be divided into linear, toroid and round inductors. Inductors interact with external electromagnetic waves, move and produce some extra waves within the cells. The shapes of these waves are similar to shapes of hexagonal and pentagonal bases of their DNA source. These waves produce some holes in liquids within the nucleus. To fill these holes, some extra hexagonal and pentagonal bases are produced. These bases could join to each other and form virus-like structures such as Coronavirus. To produce these viruses within a cell, it is necessary that the wavelength of external waves be shorter than the size of the cell. Thus 5G millimeter waves could be good candidates for applying in constructing virus-like structures such as Coronaviruses (COVID-19) within cells.

It’s absolute insanity. What’s even worse is that there’s no actual study here. It’s an editorial, as Science Integrity Digest (SID) explains.

How in the world would radio waves be able to create any living organism, especially a coronavirus? How much coronavirus does 5G need to grow in your skin so it can reach your lungs to possibly kill you? Why would 5G grow the same coronavirus in more than one person? The authors never prove that 5G waves can be absorbed by skin cells and activate the production of coronaviruses, as SID writes:

How did the authors prove this extraordinary claim? Well, they don’t. The paper does not include any experiments. It is listed as an Editorial, and it includes a lot of clunky cartoons and impressive formulas, but there is no proof. It is just a wacko hypothesis.

Others have noticed the troubling paper as well, with ExtremeTech also analyzing the claims. The blog offers a reminder of what 5G is and how it works, and you should definitely check it out if you have any doubts.

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

Like SID, ExtremeTech looks at the authors of the study as well and explains why they can’t be trusted, with some of them having a history of fringe ideas. I won’t cite any of it, so feel free to check out the two sources above.

The real problem is that conspiracy theorists will never bother to investigate whether these claims are backed up by any science. And it’s even worse that PubMed somehow allowed this garbage into its database and then quietly retracted it without posting any explanations. An archived version of the “research” is available at this link.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.