GM Crops

GMO Spin Doctors are Using Coronavirus Vaccines to Promote GM Crops

With over 2 million dead, and countries as developed as the UK and the USA failing miserably to contain the virus, it’s understandable that many see vaccines as a silver bullet that can save the world from the illness and death, never mind the social isolation and economic collapse, that the current pandemic is leaving in its wake. It’s perhaps equally unsurprising that hard pressed promoters of GM crops and animals are seeing this as an ideal marketing opportunity.

Charles hates GM. Will he spurn this vaccine? ran a headline in the Sunday Times to an article that declared, “Pfizer shows us genetic modification could protect humanity from Covid-19.” Its author, Dominic Lawson, lambasts the heir to the UK throne for his well known opposition to GM crops, and claims that it is politics, rather than science, that can “obstruct or even deny society the full benefits of scientific breakthroughs. This is true of genetic modification more widely.”

Lawson’s thesis is somewhat undermined by his record as a rightwing idealogue who has long argued against the scientific consensus on climate change. There’s also the little matter of the Pfizer vaccine being chemically synthesised rather than genetically engineered. In other words, contrary to Lawson’s claim, the Pfizer vaccine is not in any sense “GM”.

But Lawson is far from the only GM spin doctor trying to use vaccines for COVID-19 as a validation of GM crops and animals. Lawson’s sometime ally Mark Lynas is at it too, albeit with a tad more accuracy as regards the Pfizer vaccine, using his perennial gimmick of smearing all GM crop critics as anti-science.

Also at it is Bill Horan, a former board member of the National Corn Growers Association and an advocate for genetically engineering pharmaceuticals into corn (what could possibly go wrong?). “The science of GM technology may save my life. That’s because I’m about to get my COVID-19 vaccine,” Horan breathlessly tells us. Yet in the United States, where Horan farms, only two vaccines are currently authorised: Pfizer’s and Moderna’s. Like Pfizer’s, Moderna’s vaccine is chemically synthesised and not genetically engineered, i.e. whichever vaccine Horan gets, it will not be GM. But that doesn’t stop him using his upcoming appointment as the springboard for an extravagantly inaccurate article about the many wonders of GM crops.

And then there’s former vice president of the National Farmers Union (NFU) and founder of the European Biotech Forum, Paul Temple, who writes: “New genetic technology has been welcomed, with the incredible speed of vaccine development. The crisis of COVID-19 would be worse than it already is if we had not had this technology adopted and accepted in its use. The same technologies that have produced amazing genetic advances in agriculture, are now supplying us with the vaccine that will allow us to manage COVID-19 on a global basis.” Read Full Article >

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