Can Eggs Prevent or Cure Covid-19?
Last week, we fact-checked the claim that eggs “cause thousands of people to suddenly form blood clots” alongside an accompanying claim that warnings about the dangers of eggs is a conspiracy by the “global elite” to distract the public from vaccine related heart problems. We gave both a rating of false.
However, this week, we have continued to see discourse about eggs. Some commentators have taken a new approach to conspiracies about the “global elite,” again claiming to have scientific backing. According to some social media commentators and chat groups, the global elite is demonising eggs and sabotaging egg supplies because they can actually cure and prevent Covid-19.
According to these claims, eggs could help put “a definitive end” to the pandemic. The key piece of evidence cited is a study first published in 2020 titled Chicken Egg Yolk Antibodies (IgYs) block the binding of multiple SARS-CoV-2 spike protein variants to human ACE2”
Firstly, as a fact-check by Newsweek has pointed out, egg shortages being orchestrated by the powerful global elites to hide their healing potential makes little sense considering that the study has been published for over two years. Egg shortages began much more recently as a result of inflation and a bird flu outbreak.
Secondly, although the cited study and several others have indeed found that certain antibodies from chicken egg yolks can have a neutralising or “blocking” effect against the Covid-19 virus, there is a key distinction between those antibodies and actual eggs a consumer might purchase off a supermarket shelf. We looked at the articles, and the distinction was apparent even from a brief scan of the research summaries.
The studies elaborate on the methodologies used to extract, isolate, and purify the protein Immunoglobulin (Ig)-Y from egg yolks. The process takes time and specialised equipment not available to the average consumer, coupled with specially vaccinating the hens producing the chickens.
While some studies found that Immunoglobulin had potential applications in “pre- and post-exposure prophylaxis or treatment of COVID-19” this was only in the context of administration through “oral preparation, oral or nasal spray” rather than merely consuming eggs.
Preventing the public from buying and consuming eggs would not have an impact on Covid-19 recovery, much less put a “definitive end” to the pandemic. Therefore, we give this claim a rating of false.
This second wave of egg-based claims is interesting because it demonstrates how certain larger conspiracies are the root of many smaller pieces of disinformation being circulated widely on social media. New claims are being introduced as additional evidence and fitted into the ecosystem of the wider conspiracy. This can be seen in the screenshot below, which combines this claim and last week’s claim under the same umbrella.
Both claims about eggs are closely tied to the broader conspiracy that “global elites” want to prolong the pandemic and spread harmful vaccines for their own nefarious purposes. We have seen this narrative pop up on Twitter, Instagram, and circulated across several Telegram channels; including some based in Singapore.
While it may not be possible to fact-check these large conspiracies, recognising their presence behind smaller claims can help us as readers to better identify the motivations of such claims and debunk them more thoroughly.