No, the corona vaccines do not contain graphene oxide and antioxidants cannot easily break it down

No, the corona vaccines do not contain graphene oxide and antioxidants cannot easily break it down

Dozens of users on Facebook and hundreds of thousands on Telegram have seen a video that so-called graphene oxide is said to get into the body via corona vaccinations or masks. Those affected could then neutralize this through detoxification with the help of antioxidants. However, experts confirmed to AFP that the vaccines do not contain any graphene oxide. A detox would not even be necessary. Furthermore, it is doubtful whether the substances specified would be suitable at all for removing the substance from the body again.

Dozens of users have shared the video and a corresponding article on Facebook (here, here, here). Thousands watched the graphene oxide detox clip on TikTok (here) and hundreds of thousands on Telegram (here, here). Users also drew attention to the claim via WhatsApp.

The False Claim: A certain Ricardo Delgado appears in the shared video. He claims that graphene oxide enters the body via the corona vaccines or via masks, test sticks or sanitary towels. There, the substance causes "oxidative stress" and has a toxic effect. To counteract this, Delgado recommends taking certain dietary supplements that contain antioxidants, especially something called glutathione. These are able to break down the graphene oxide and detoxify the body. Delgado recommends taking the dietary supplements, especially against the background of the increased use of 5G technology, which is said to increase the effect of graphene oxide and lead to damage in the body or trigger Covid-19.

Facebook screenshot of false claim: 11/03/2021

The video refers to Ricardo Delgado as a biostatistician at the bottom of the screen. AFP has already reported on his false claims several times in Spanish-language fact checks (here, here, here). Among other things, Delgado commissioned a study to prove the existence of graphene oxide in the Biontech vaccine. AFP already refuted their results in August (here).

In his Spanish-language video, Delgado addresses the followers of "La Quinta Columna". A corresponding logo can also be seen in the picture. According to information on the "La Quinta Columna" website, this is a movement for "free thinking", which also deals with topics that take place "apart from the current censorship".

What is graphene oxide?

Graphene is an atomically thin layer of carbon arranged in a hexagonal lattice. Stacked on top of each other, the layers form the basis for graphite, which can also be found in pencil tips, for example.

In combination with oxygen, graphene can be converted into so-called graphene oxide (GO). The substance could be used in the areas of optoelectronics or energy conversion, for example.

Professor Hong Byung-hee, an expert on nanomaterials at Seoul National University, told AFP on July 19 during a fact check that much research is being done on the material for uses such as drug delivery and sensor-based diagnostics .

Professor Hong doesn't understand health concerns about graphene oxide. The substance should be further investigated for its function as a possible adjuvant in vaccines. Graphene oxide should help elicit stronger immune responses, Hong explained.

Vaccines do not contain graphene oxide

In his video, Delgado claims that graphene oxide enters the body in a number of ways. These reportedly include vaccines and masks, as well as PCR testing, sanitary pads and inhalation. Some masks were even recalled because of GO contamination but were still sold.

Regarding the Biontech/Pfizer vaccine, Pfizer has repeatedly confirmed to AFP that no graphene oxide is contained in the vaccine. Pfizer spokeswoman Dervila Keane said in an email around Aug. 4, "I would like to reiterate that no graphene oxide is used in the manufacture of Pfizer-BioNTech's Covid-19 vaccine."

The lists of vaccine ingredients maintained by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) confirm this statement. AFP spotted these. Graphene oxide does not appear as a component of the vaccine in the lists for Biontech/Pfizer, nor for Moderna. Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca there is no graphene oxide.

Lists of the ingredients used in vaccines have also been published by the World Health Organization (WHO). There it can be seen that none of the approved vaccines contain graphene or graphene oxide. The ingredients are available from AstraZeneca, Janssen, Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, as well as Sinopharm, Sinovac, CanSino and Anhui Zhifei from China, Russia's Sputnik and India's Bharat Biotech.

Dr. Park Jong-bo, a researcher at Biographene, a company developing graphene-based medicines, confirmed to AFP on July 20 that "no vaccines on the market are based on graphene oxide." Vaccines that are currently used consist of layers of phospholipids, peptides or nucleic acids, Park explained. Graphene oxide does not fall into any of these categories.

Professor Hong Byung-hee explained that graphene oxide is also being tested for its biomedical applicability in vaccines. However, these applications are still in an "experimental phase." Before these come onto the market, clinical trials and long waiting times are needed.

Masks do not contain graphene oxide

Also, Delgado's mask claim has already been reviewed by AFP and found to be misleading. The background was the recall of a certain type of face mask by the Canadian authorities in April 2021. At that time it was said that the graphs contained in the masks could pose a health risk.

However, the statement also said: "The potential for inhalation of graphene particles through face masks and the associated health risks are not yet known." After an investigation, the authorities were later unable to identify any safety risks and released the masks for sale again in July. At the end of September 2021, further masks with graphene components were also approved for sale.

The Spanish Society of Neurology (SEN) also told AFP in June 2021 that masks containing graphene were proven to be safe. This was the result of a study by the Autonomous University of Madrid.

In principle, all substances that are known to pose a health risk are prohibited in medical masks and FFP masks. This is determined by European standards, for example. Medical masks and FFP masks only receive a so-called CE mark if they meet these requirements. Only masks with CE certification may be sold in Germany. Laboratories commissioned by the Central Office of the Federal States for Health Protection for Drugs and Medical Devices check compliance with these standards.

PCR tests do not contain graphene oxide

AFP has already refuted the claim that graphene enters the body via PCR tests. The swabs are mostly made of conventional polymers with stems made of polypropylene, polystyrene, etc., explained Dr. Margot Paulino, head of the experimental department at the chemistry faculty of Udelar in Uruguay told AFP. Her team has also developed swabs for PCR tests to detect the coronavirus.

AFP also interviewed Jari Kinaret, head of the European Commission's "Graphene Flagship" research initiative, which deals with the development of graphene-based technologies. Kinaret said in an email on October 19 that none of the "Graphene Flagship" partners are currently producing PCR tests with graphene. He was also not aware of this in the case of sanitary towels.

"We are not aware of any such work outside of our consortium either," added Kinaret. Should graphene or graphene oxide be used in such products, this must be evident from the lists of ingredients. The safety of these products would then be investigated by the relevant authorities such as the EMA.

No, it is in the Corona vaccines do not contain graphene oxide and antioxidants cannot easily break it down

Would graphene oxide be toxic?

Delgado claims in his video that graphene oxide is toxic in the body because it causes so-called "oxidative stress". However, the graphene oxide can be broken down with the help of various antioxidants, in particular glutathione. He also mentions so-called N-acetyl-cysteine ​​in 600-750 mg doses, zinc or vitamin D3, which should be taken as a dietary supplement, as being helpful.

The Federal Office for Radiation Protection explains: "Oxidative stress is understood to mean an imbalance in cells or tissue in which there are more reactive molecules or atoms than can be broken down by cellular processes". According to the RKI, such reactive molecules, such as reactive oxygen species (ROS), arise when, for example, parts of the oxygen absorbed by the body are not completely broken down due to faulty processes. Certain enzymes also contribute to the formation of ROS.

The RKI also writes: "Under normal physiological conditions, there is a dynamic equilibrium between 'oxidative' and 'antioxidative' processes. A deflection of this equilibrium in favor of the formation of oxidatively active molecules (...) is referred to as 'oxidative stress'" .

According to the RKI, this stress can be harmful because it can be assumed that the formation of ROS plays a role in the development of numerous diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes or cancer.

According to the RKI, the so-called antioxidants are the "opponents" of the ROS, which are involved in the development of oxidative stress. According to the North Rhine-Westphalia consumer advice center, such antioxidants are able to have a health-promoting effect if they are consumed as part of a diet rich in vegetables and fruit. Some antioxidants are able to counteract oxidative stress. However, this does not generally apply to everyone.

The substance glutathione named by Delgado is a compound that is able to reduce reactive oxygen compounds (ROS). Because of this antioxidant effect, it is often offered as a dietary supplement. The so-called N-acetyl-cysteine ​​(NAC) is also one such antioxidant active ingredient that is also used in dietary supplements.

On October 29, AFP interviewed Prof. Dr. Markus Ralser, Head of the Institute for Biochemistry at the Berlin Charité. He explained in an e-mail that in order to trigger damage from oxidative stress, "you have to come into contact with high concentrations of oxidants (editor's note: substances that promote oxidation)". However, these concentrations are not contained in vaccines.

Also Prof. Dr. Christoph Schalley of the Institute of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Freie Universität Berlin confirmed this to AFP on November 2, adding: "If any substantial amount of graphene oxide were present in the vaccine, the vaccine solution should no longer be colorless."

And further: "If the amounts of graphene oxide are so small that you can no longer see the color, the amount of triggers for oxidative stress would also be so small that no effect is to be expected."

A "detox" doesn't make any sense

AFP also asked Prof. Dr. Marcel Deponte from the chemistry department at the TU Kaiserslautern. On October 18, he explained in an email that the dietary supplements mentioned could not generally be referred to as "antioxidants". How the substances react with graphene oxide depends on the exact circumstances.

Without a corresponding enzyme, the degradation of graphene oxide is unlikely anyway, explained Deponte. Enzymes are usually responsible for controlling biochemical reactions in the body. In some cases it is possible for enzymes of the substance glutathione to break down certain compounds, such as epoxides. However, Deponte believes it is unlikely that this will also apply to graphene oxide. Upon request, Prof. Dr. Schalley this assumption.

The other supplements in question make even less sense for graphene oxide degradation, according to Deponte. The researcher also drew attention to the fact that everyone who consumes plant or animal foods is already naturally supplying the body with large amounts of the substance glutathione. In a normal diet, glutathione from supplements would not significantly affect concentrations in body cells. "The more glutathione a cell takes in, the less glutathione it synthesizes itself," Deponte explained.

Prof. dr Schalley also explained that antioxidants like glutathione are found in every cell in our body and are tasked with controlling and breaking down the reactive oxygen species described above. Schalley explains the reduction of oxidative stress with antioxidants:

"As a rule, the absorption of substances in the body is well regulated. This presumably ensures that there are enough antioxidants available in a normal, balanced diet. In cases where there are too few of them, I can imagine that taking (dietary supplements) can compensate for the deficiency. However, in countries with a good nutritional situation such as Germany, this will probably be the exception."

There are also health concerns with some antioxidants, such as vitamin D3, explains Schalley. Here, among other things, there would be vitamin D3 overdose diseases, since this is easily fat-soluble.

With regard to the benefits of antioxidants, the consumer center also points out that it has not been proven whether the substances in the form of food supplements protect against diseases such as "heart attack, stroke, arthritis or cancer".

"The European Food Safety Authority has examined the study situation on the protective function of antioxidants and has described the data situation as not scientifically reliable for many substances. Only a few statements on protection against free radicals (oxidative stress) are permissible. This includes for zinc, Selenium and vitamins C, E and B2 are said to help 'protect cells from oxidative stress'."

Risks from the recommended means

The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) said on October 29th when asked by AFP that dietary supplements "pose health risks under certain conditions". This is the case with increased dosages or consumers who belong to risk groups.

Especially for the dietary supplement N-acetylcysteine, it is not recommended to consume more than 600 mg a day. Asthmatics, people with histamine intolerance or stomach and intestinal ulcers are particularly sensitive here. The substance is also only recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding women if the need has been determined by a doctor. At a dose of 750 mg, pharmacological effects could even be assumed, explains the BfR.

Is graphene oxide responsive to 5G technology?

Delgado recently claimed in his video that the increased use of 5G technology will further increase the allegedly harmful effects of graphene oxide.

The leader of the research initiative "Graphene Flagship", Jari Kinaret, countered the alleged link between graphene oxide and 5G technology, saying that graphene oxide is non-magnetic and has weak electrical conductivity. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that it interferes with electromagnetic radiation or affects the magnetic properties of other materials.

Also Prof. Dr. Jani Kotakoski, head of a research group on nanomaterials at the University of Vienna, told AFP on October 27 that 5G technology is unable to affect graphene oxide:

"The 5G radiation, along with microwaves and radio waves, belongs to the group of non-ionizing radiations that do not cause any structural changes in materials. The only effect it can have is heating. That is why 5G is not able to absorb graphene oxide or to make other substances more dangerous."

As can be seen on the website of the Federal Office for Radiation Protection, reports of an alleged connection between the spread of the corona virus and 5G technology have been circulating for some time. There it goes on: "From a scientific point of view, all speculations have no basis whatsoever."

A spokeswoman for the Federal Office said on October 20th when asked by AFP: "In the overall view of all existing studies and taking into account their quality, the BfS comes to the conclusion that, based on the current state of knowledge, if the existing limit values ​​are observed, there are no scientifically proven There is evidence of health-damaging effects from mobile communications, including the 5G frequencies, which are mainly in the process of being expanded."

Conclusion: There is no graphene oxide in the corona vaccines. A detoxification of the substance by means of antioxidants is therefore not necessary. The supposedly particularly effective glutathione is also found in the body with a normal diet. Caution, however, applies to the increased dosage of dietary supplements. There is no evidence that 5G technology in combination with graphene oxide has a negative impact on the body.