Graphene “miracle material” at the heart of COVID-19 plots
Have you heard of graphene? It is a Nobel Prize-winning material that has emerged with very promising applications for greener energy and nanomedicine, and it has also been at the center of COVID-19 vaccine conspiracy theories with anti-vaccines claiming that it can be used to “magnetize” and “control” people.
What is Graphene
Often referred to as a “miracle material”, graphene is one of the strongest materials in the world and one of the lightest.
A single atom thick form of carbon – several times thinner than a human hair – graphene is transparent but stronger than steel.
It was released as a theoretical substance in 1947, but for decades physicists thought it would be impossible to isolate it.
The problem was solved in 2004 by scientists Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov, who used ordinary duct tape to lift up a layer of a piece of graphite – the pencil lead material.
This layer itself was separated using more tape, and the process repeated until only the thinnest layer remained – a sheet of graphene.
In 2010, the couple received the Nobel Prize in Physics for their efforts.
Graphene, a superconductor of heat and electrical energy, is “among the most promising materials for future technologies,” Argentinian chemist Marcelo Mariscal, a nanotechnology specialist, told Agence France-Presse (AFP).
He is at the center of research on the manufacture of ultra-strong yet lightweight and flexible electronic devices, satellites, airplanes and cars, greener alternatives to batteries and a delivery vehicle for gene therapy. or molecular – potentially also for use in vaccines.
Link to COVID-19 vaccines?
As has been the case with 5G and microchip technology, graphene has been the subject of several “Trojan horse” conspiracy theories that powerful governments or individuals are supposed to seek to “control” from a distance. people who receive some sort of mini device through coronavirus vaccines. , or track their whereabouts by GPS.
This control could be exerted from 5G towers transmitting signals to people believed to be carrying graphene particles, according to one theory.
In another widely publicized claim, social media users claimed they had been “magnetized” by the vaccine, posting images of magnets, coins or cutlery allegedly attached to the arm in which they received the vaccine. cut.
Some conspiracy theorists have claimed that vaccines containing graphene have altered people’s “electromagnetic fields” and that this can be fatal.
For starters, none of the vaccines approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) contain graphene or its derivative, graphene oxide.
Conspiracies were fueled when Canada recalled in April some anti-coronavirus masks with a layer of graphene over concerns that the inhaled particles could cause asbestos-like lung damage.
In July, their sale resumed after an examination found that “biomass graphene particles are not excreted by these masks in amounts that could cause adverse effects on the lungs.”
Experts also dispute the alleged magnetizing properties of graphene.
The material “is magnetic only under very specific laboratory conditions,” Diego Pena of the Spanish Center for Research in Biological Chemistry and Molecular Materials told AFP.
A video of a brain autopsy widely circulated on social media as evidence of the suspected lethal effects of graphene in a vaccinated person, actually came from a patient with a brain hemorrhage and filmed even before COVID-19 was identified.
Experts say the hype over promising applications of graphene – most of them still in the research phase – has helped make it a popular target for disinformation.
“The material is known, everyone knows it is real, but not everyone understands how it works,” said Ester Vazquez Fernandez-Pacheco, director of the Regional Institute for Applied Scientific Research (IRICA) in Spain.
It is therefore “very easy to make people believe things that have no scientific basis.”