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COVID-19 vaccines are not called ‘Luciferase’

April 14, 2021 GMT

CLAIM: COVID-19 vaccines are called Luciferase, have the patent number 060606 and come from a digital program called Inferno.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. COVID-19 vaccines are not named Luciferase, nor do they contain an enzyme known as luciferase. Instead, that light-producing enzyme has been used in some COVID-19 research. The patent application and digital program mentioned in viral posts are not related to COVID-19 vaccines.

THE FACTS: A protein used in some COVID-19 vaccine research is stirring up bogus conspiracy theories on social media as widespread posts claim the harmless enzyme luciferase has satanic associations.

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“Are you going to get the shot called LUCIFERASE with a patent number 060606 and digital program called INFERNO????” read a viral post on Facebook. 

“The CV-19 VAXX has LUCIFERASE (Lucifer Race) DNA in it,” an Instagram user wrote. “You will loose your salvation forever!!!”

The posts misrepresent the enzyme, which is responsible for bioluminescence in some organisms. Luciferase is not an ingredient in any of the COVID-19 vaccines.

Instead, luciferase is a generic term for a group of enzymes that trigger the oxidation of chemicals called luciferins, producing a visible glow. The enzyme interacts with luciferins in fireflies, causing them to light up. 

The word luciferase has roots in the Latin word lucifer, meaning light-bearing. So, while it has a similar name to the fallen angel in many religious stories, the only connection between luciferase and Lucifer is the origins of their names.

While luciferase is not found in COVID-19 vaccines, the enzyme has been used in some COVID-19 research, as its ability to release light can help scientists visually track how viruses and vaccines affect cells. At the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, luciferase has helped speed up diagnostic COVID-19 testing, because it allows researchers to see the presence of antibodies more quickly than they could using other methods. At the University of South Florida School of Public Health, luciferase helped researchers see how well a coronavirus proxy invaded cells, and which cells were most vulnerable.

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In their attempts to cast luciferase as diabolical and anti-Christian, social media users also referenced a patent with the number 060606 and a “digital program called Inferno.”

There’s no chance any U.S. patent for a COVID-19 vaccine would exactly match the number 060606, because U.S. patent numbers have contained eight digits ever since the country issued its 10 millionth patent in 2018.

Some of the social media posts attempted to link the COVID-19 vaccines to an international patent application filed with the World Intellectual Property Organization by Microsoft Technology Licensing, LLC. That patent has the number WO2020060606, which contains 060606. But the application includes no mention of vaccines or injection, instead dealing with a cryptocurrency system that uses body activity data. What’s more, the patent application was filed in June 2019, long before COVID-19 began its global spread.

As for a digital program called Inferno, an internet search revealed no program related to COVID-19 vaccines by that name. Some social media users spreading false claims about the coronavirus mentioned an operating system called Inferno created in the 1990s by Lucent Technologies. There’s no basis for the claim that the operating system has anything to do with COVID-19 immunizations.

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This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.

Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536