The Associated Press checked out false and misleading claims and videos circulating after the presidential election and news about COVID-19 vaccines. This one is bogus, even though it was shared widely on social media.

CLAIM: Researchers used lung tissue from an aborted male fetus in the creation of COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccine.

THE FACTS: As news continues to break around the results of new COVID-19 vaccines, a widely shared video made false claims about the vaccine developed through a partnership between the British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca and Oxford University.

The video, which had more than 160,000 views, falsely claimed: CONFIRMED- aborted Male fetus in Covid 19 vaccine.

In the video, an unidentified woman shows the packaging from a box of AstraZeneca and Oxfords COVID-19 vaccine, and urges people to share the video with anybody else that doesnt want aborted fetal tissue fragments put into them. She then shows a preprint of a University of Bristol study that tested the vaccine on MRC-5 cell lines. She explains that the cell line was originally developed from an aborted male fetus.

Is everybody OK with having that injected into themselves or their children? the woman asks.

A spokesperson for AstraZeneca confirmed to the AP that the company does not use MRC-5 cells in the development of its vaccine.

Researchers at the University of Bristol, who were independent from the vaccines development, injected the COVID-19 vaccine into MRC-5 cell lines as part of their own study. MRC-5 cells are what is known as an immortalized cell line, which can reproduce indefinitely.

Such cell lines are used in vaccine production to grow viruses in order to keep them from replicating. The AstraZeneca and Oxford vaccine relies on a harmless chimpanzee cold virus to carry the coronavirus spike protein into the body in order to create an immune response.

AstraZeneca did not use MRC-5 cells, but it did use a different producer cell line to develop it: Human Embryonic Kidney 293 TREX cells.

According to the University of Oxford development team, the original Human Embryonic Kidney 293 cells were taken from the kidney of an aborted fetus in 1973, but the cells used now are clones of the original cells. Dr. Deepak Srivastava, president of Gladstone Institutes and former president of the International Society for Stem Cell Research, said fetal cell lines were critical in developing hepatitis, measles and chickenpox vaccines.

Whats important for the public to know even if they are opposed to the use of fetal cells for therapies, these medicines that are being made and vaccines do not contain any aspect of the cells in them, Srivastava said. The cells are used as factories for production.

Misinformation around COVID-19 vaccines have public health experts concerned about the implications it could have on the adoption of the vaccine in the United States.

Read more:

No cells from aborted fetus are in COVID-19 vaccines; that rumor is patently false - OregonLive

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