COVID-19 is caused by a virus, not snake venom
COVID-19 is caused by a virus, not snake venom

COVID-19 is caused by a virus, not snake venom

SciCheck Digest

The COVID-19 pandemic was caused by a new coronavirus, first isolated in January 2020. But a viral video has spread a conspiracy theory that the pandemic has actually been a plot to poison people with snake venom.

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A video that draws on several major COVID-19 conspiracy theories – and introduces a new plot to tie them together – has garnered millions of views Bouldera social media platform popular among conservatives.

That videobilled as a “documentary” consists of a simple, fairly hour-long interview with Bryan Ardis, a retired chiropractor who allegedly sells acne heals online and now sells a range of supplements called “Anti-V”- maybe a reference to antivenom, even if the website does not explain. We have written about him Before.

The video is packed with screenshots of scientific articles and news articles that Ardis quotes to give credence to his false claims. But none of them actually provide any evidence for his conspiracy theory.

Ardis, for example, recites some of the allegations he has made in the past about belt defenses, and erroneously claims that it is a “toxic, deadly substance” used to deliberately poison people. As if to prove this point, the video misleadingly shows a table from a paper in which 53% of patients treated with remdesivir died. But it comes from one trials with patients with Ebola virus disease and does not show that those patients died due to the drug.

In fact, contrary to his claim that research papers show that remdesivir is dangerous, studies have found that serious side effects are no longer common in COVID-19 patients treated with the drug compared to those who are not. No drug is 100% safe, but there is no evidence that remdesivir is used by doctors across the country to kill patients.

Using such maneuvers throughout the video, Ardis presents a broad conspiracy theory in which he suggests that the pandemic has actually been a plot carried out by the Catholic Church and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to poison people with snake venom. .

“I am convinced that COVID-19 is not a respiratory virus of any kind,” he says. “It’s actually poison poisoning, and they use, I think, synthesized peptides and proteins from poisons from snakes, and they administer them and target them at certain people.”

But as we have explained before, pscientists in China first isolated the virus that causes COVID-19 on January 7, 2020. Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States at the time isolated virus later that month from a patient diagnosed with the disease in Washington state. And scientists in Other things countries has also isolated the virus. The World Health Organization announced official name of the virus – SARS-CoV-2 – on 11 February 2020.

So it has been clear for a long time that COVID-19 is caused by a virus. (And snake venom is not made of viruses. It is a secretion that contains toxins.)

Also, several competing pharmaceutical companies have developed vaccines that effectively prevent serious illness from the virus.

Ardis, however, casts doubt on the vaccines by alluding to a conspiracy theory that claims the vaccines have made people magnetic. We denied this theory when it first became popular when vaccines began to roll out widely in the United States in the spring of 2021.

But the focal point of his entire meaningless theory is a 2017 episode of a network TV drama called “The blacklist. “

After laying the ground for about half an hour, the video shows a clip from one episode of NBC’s “The Blacklist,” in which the main character is poisoned with snake venom in a drink.

“When I saw this, I knew it,” Ardis says of watching show, which was originally aired in 2017 – almost three years before the outbreak of COVID-19. That’is now available on Netflix. “I knew I was right, I knew I had to see it because it was a confirmation to me that other people knew this was planned all the time, which we have known it was a plan.”

One of the worn-out conspiracy theories that Ardis relies on here claims that the pandemic was planned in advance by sinister actors – one of the most viral versions of this theory was presented in a couple of 2020 videos called “Plandemic”, each of which we have written about.

Ardis goes on to explain that when he saw the main character in the series being poisoned through a drink, “I realized something – I realized how they have spread this.” (Read our SciCheck topic “How is COVID-19 transmitted?”For facts about transmission.)

The video then shows a hand placing a quick COVID-19 test under tap water. While spooky music is playing in the background, the text “WATCH THE WATER” appears on the screen.

The name of the video is also “Watch The Water”, which is an apparent reference to another conspiracy theory, QAnon, which has flourished during the pandemic.

That phrase was used in one February 2018 post from “Q”, the pseudonym used by the person or persons posting cryptic messages on Internet message boards that are the basis of the QAnon conspiracy theory. This phrase has been used to support a number of false claims over the years, including that ballots in the 2020 election had secret watermarks and that “Q” had predicted one backup of container vessels in the Suez Canal in 2021.

Here, the phrase is used to support Ardis’ theory that public drinking water is poisoned with snake venom.

“They use krait poison and cobra poison, call it COVID-19, you drink it, it penetrates your brain stem, and it paralyzes your diaphragm’s ability to breathe,” Ardis says.

He later explains that “the CDC is in on it” and suggests that the plot may eventually have come from “the Catholic Church or anyone.”

When he explains that he thinks the CDC is involved because it monitors wastewater in some places, Ardis says it is “Like in the show Blacklist.”

But it is not.

The show was not meant to suggest that there was a plan to poison parts of the public with snake venom under the guise of a viral pandemic, Blacklist creator Jon Bokenkamp told us in a phone interview.

That episode was not written to warn of the pandemic, he said. Rather, it was meant to show an unconventional criminal using an unusual method to poison someone as entertainment.

The snake venom “was a great way to get a far out but slightly grounded version of the bad guy,” Bokenkamp said. “It was a story.”

He noted that the show is in its ninth season, and like any long-running show, it has sometimes randomly reflected things to come, as an episode from 2015 called “The troll Farmer,” where a disinformation campaign manipulated real-world events.

So there is no reason to believe that this fictional show has somehow revealed that the COVID-19 pandemic is actually a plot to poison people with snake venom.

The underlying notion that COVID-19 is caused by snake venom is simply untrue. Researchers around the globe have been studying SARS-CoV-2 – the virus that causes COVID-19 – for more than two years, and there is no doubt that the disease is caused by a virus.

Editor’s note: SciChecks COVID-19 / vaccination project is made possible by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The fund has no control over’s editorial decisions, and the views expressed in our articles do not necessarily reflect the views of the Foundation. The aim of the project is to increase the exposure to accurate information about COVID-19 and vaccines, while reducing the impact of misinformation.


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Ardis, Bryan. License confirmation. Tennessee Department of Health. Accessed April 4, 2022.

Hale Spencer, Saranac. “Clinical trials find no increase in mortality among COVID-19 patients treated with Remdesivir, contrary to the virus claim. “ April 6, 2022.

Mulangu, Sabue, et al. “A randomized, controlled trial of the treatment of Ebola virus diseases. “New England Journal of Medicine. December 12, 2019.

Infectious Diseases Society of America. IDSA guidelines for the treatment and management of patients with COVID-19. Updated March 23, 2022.

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Harcourt, Jennifer, et al. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. “Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 from Patient with Coronavirus Disease, USA. “New Infectious Diseases. June 2020.

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Reuters. “Fact Check- Q did not predict container ship stoppages in the Suez Canal; ship not affiliated with the Clintons. “April 9, 2021.

Bokenkamp, ​​Jon. Creator, The Blacklist. Telephone interview with April 12, 2022

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