‘Satan’s Hybrid’: PolitiFact Debunks ‘Watch the Water’ Vaccine Rejection Film Claiming COVID Vaccine Is Snake Venom


A A new anti-vaccine documentary ridiculously claims that the coronavirus is not a virus, but a synthetic version of snake venom that the forces of evil spread through remdesivir, COVID-19 mRNA vaccines and drinking water to “make you a hybrid of Satan”.

The 48-minute film, released on April 11, is the latest in an expanding genre of mega-viral conspiracy-laden videos made in the mold of the May 2020 “Plandemic” video. Its title, “Watch the Water” , is a nod to a favorite QAnon conspiracy theory refrain, which centers around the belief that a secret cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles runs a global sex trafficking ring.

The video is an interview between far-right radio host Stew Peters, who has a history of using inflammatory rhetoric and spreading COVID-19 conspiracy theories, and Bryan Ardis, a former chiropractor who built a mark around the claim that the drug remdesivir kills people.

It showed Ardis, which sells acne products and is now using the film to sell what it calls “anti-v” supplement kits online, invoking the Garden of Eden story and a fictional TV plot. as he described an elaborate scheme of mass murder which he claimed even involved the Pope.

“I think the plan was all along to embed the DNA of the serpent, of the evil one, into your God-created DNA,” Ardis said. “They use mRNA, which is mRNA extracted from, I believe, king cobra venom, king cobra venom. And I think they want to put that venom in you and make you a hybrid of Satan.

The theory in the video is “miles away from reality and indicates a profound lack of understanding in science and medicine, and very twisted logic,” said Dr. David Relman, professor of microbiology and immunology at the Stanford University. “There is no evidence that SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19 is caused by snakes or snake venom.”

Some members of the anti-vaccine and QAnon movements have greeted the Ardis venom claims with skepticism. But Peters promoted the film extensively on messaging app Telegram, and it racked up nearly 3 million views on Rumble, a video hosting platform, within a week of its release. Social media users shared it on other mainstream platforms, where it was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat fake news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Learn more about our partnership with Facebook.)

COVID-19 is not snake venom

At the start of the documentary, Ardis told Peters that he began investigating a potential link between COVID-19 and snake venom after receiving a cryptic text from an anonymous doctor asking, “If you get bitten by a rattlesnake, would you go to the hospital and get some antivenom? »

The text, Ardis claimed, came shortly after he did an interview about monoclonal antibodies used to treat COVID-19 infections, which gave him pause.

He falsely claimed that monoclonal antibodies are identical to anti-venoms used to deactivate toxins from a snakebite. He then claimed without evidence that if a public health agency advises against a treatment, that means the treatment actually works.

A monoclonal antibody treatment center is closed on January 25, 2022 in Pembroke Pines, Florida. Credit: AP Photo/Marta Lavandier

The Food and Drug Administration in January recommended limiting the use of monoclonal antibodies as COVID-19 treatments after they were found to be less effective against newer variants. Ardis therefore reasoned that if the FDA discouraged the use of monoclonal antibodies, and if monoclonal antibodies were anti-venom, then the coronavirus must in fact be venom.

“I realized all of a sudden that monoclonal antibodies are anti-venom,” Ardis said. “The feds don’t want us to use antivenom. Why do they denigrate anti-venom, and why do we find anti-venom works against COVID? Isn’t it a virus? Is it venom?

The answer, according to experts, is no.

Monoclonal antibodies used for COVID-19 infections “do not recognize or bind to snake venom,” Relman said. “They have absolutely nothing to do with snake venom.”

Anti-venoms are developed by injecting venom into an animal with a robust immune system, such as a horse, and harvesting the antibodies the animal produces in response.

Monoclonal antibodies are different. They are produced in the laboratory or cloned and designed to enhance protection against a specific target such as the coronavirus. No monoclonal antibodies have yet been created to target snake venoms, said Dr. Robert Garry, a virologist at Tulane University.

Fragile evidence

The coronavirus has been isolated, replicated, sequenced, imaged and studied as it makes its way across the world, killing more than 6 million people. Scientists do not doubt that it is a virus.

But Ardis suggested, for example, that a University of Pittsburgh researcher who was shot in May 2020 was killed because he was going to reveal that COVID-19 was snake venom.

The university told PolitiFact that these claims were “incorrect and not scientifically sound.” Police said the incident was unrelated to the researcher’s work.

Ardis also cited several studies. He pointed to an early pandemic study that considered snakes a reservoir of COVID-19, but Garry said his findings were “very speculative” and “pretty quickly dismissed.”

Ardis misrepresented a second study, falsely claiming it showed a rattlesnake venom enzyme in the blood of COVID-19 patients. In fact, the study found that an enzyme that healthy humans already have in their bodies – which is similar but not identical to an enzyme in rattlesnake venom – was circulating at high levels in patients who died of the COVID-19.

Ardis then described a third study in a way that was “not only disturbing and outrageous, but absolutely incorrect,” said Gus Wright of Texas A&M University, one of the study’s co-authors.

The study mapped the genetic makeup of the Indian cobra and, to help develop a more effective anti-venom, identified 19 venom toxins specific to this snake.

Ardis suggested the 19 toxins were linked to COVID-19, but Wright said the study “does not have an association with COVID-19 in any way.” The 19 in COVID-19 reflects the year of its discovery, 2019.

“It seems to grab sentences and fragments of discoveries and then weave them into a distorted image,” Relman said.

Towards the end of the film, Ardis went so far as to claim that the phrase “coronavirus pandemic” can be translated in Latin to “pope venom pandemic” or “king cobra venom pandemic”.

These interpretations are “completely wrong,” said Massimo Cè, lexicographer at Thesaurus Linguae Latinae, the largest Latin dictionary in the world. Coronaviruses have been known to scientists by this name for decades, Cè said, and the term itself dates back centuries to the Latin word used to describe the halo of light seen around the sun and moon.

Pope Francis delivers his speech during an audience with young people in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican, Monday, April 18, 2022. Credit: AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino

Evil forces do not poison people with remdesivir, vaccines and water

Ardis claimed that evil forces were targeting people with snake venom through remdesivir, vaccines and drinking water because venom is a secretion that cannot spread as a respiratory virus.

His supposed evidence included the observation that remdesivir and snake venom have “a white to yellowish tint” when stored, he said. He also referenced debunked videos in which social media users claimed vaccines made them magnetic and tap water tested positive for COVID-19. And he showed an excerpt from a fictional TV show in which a character was poisoned by his drink. Ardis said after watching the episode, “I realized how they aired this.”

But Gilead, the maker of remdesivir, said Ardis’s claims about the drug containing snake venom and causing mass deaths were “entirely false”.

Remdesivir is “definitely not snake venom,” said Dr. Katherine Seley-Radtke, professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

The drug’s structure has been repeatedly confirmed as what scientists classify as a “nucleoside analogue,” Seley-Radtke said, while snake venom is “a complex mix of all sorts of things.”

Pfizer also told PolitiFact that its mRNA vaccine is “fully synthetic and does not contain any animal products.” Ingredient lists for COVID-19 vaccines are public.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say the coronavirus has also not been detected in drinking water. The creator of the fictional TV show cited by Ardis told FactCheck.org that the poisoning scene, which aired in 2017, was not meant to foreshadow the pandemic or the nefarious plot described by Ardis.

Credit: AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez

Our decision

Ardis said COVID-19 is a synthetic version of “snake venom” that evil forces are spreading through remdesivir, drinking water and COVID-19 vaccines to “make you a hybrid of Satan.”

This is far from reality, according to experts. COVID-19 is not snake venom.

The former chiropractor relied on a mix of warped scientific studies, twisted logic, fictional TV show plots, sloppy Latin, debunked home videos, circumstantial evidence and what he claimed be signs of God to make his case.

We rate his Pants on Fire statement!

A version of this article originally appeared on PolitiFact and is republished here with permission. PolitiFact can be found on Twitter @Politifact

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