Sydney, Aug 1: Covid-19 cannot enter a person's DNA, say Australian researchers refuting claims of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that caused the infectious disease, integrating its genetic material into the human genome.
The study, published in the journal Cell Reports, showed there was no evidence of Covid-19 -- or the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccines -- entering DNA.
The claims have led to "scaremongering" and people should not hesitate to be vaccinated, said researchers from University of Queensland.
The research confirmed there was no unusual viral activity and the Covid-19 behaviour was in line with what was expected from a coronavirus.
"The evidence refutes this concept being used to fuel vaccine hesitancy," said Geoff Faulkner, Professor at the varsity's Queensland Brain Institute.
"We find no evidence of SARS-CoV-2 integration suggests such events are, at most, extremely rare in vivo, and therefore are unlikely to drive oncogenesis or explain post-recovery detection of the virus.
"From a public health point of view, we would say that there are no concerns that the virus or vaccines can be incorporated into human DNA," Faulkner said.
In his previous research, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Faulkner suggested that positive Covid-19 tests long after recovery are due to the virus being incorporated into DNA.
"We looked into their claims that the human cells and machinery turned Covid-19 RNA into DNA, causing permanent mutations.
"We assessed the claims in cells grown in the laboratory, conducted DNA sequencing and found no evidence of Covid-19 in DNA," he added.
In May, researchers from the Purdue University in Indiana, US, showed that although throughout human history there have been viruses capable of integrating their genetic material into human genes, the Covid virus lacks the molecular machinery to integrate its RNA into human DNA.