People visit a Covid-19 mass vaccination centre in Melbourne on April 21, 2021. (Photo by LUIS ASCUI / POOL / AFP)

This Australian news report about new Covid-19 treatments has been misleadingly edited

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Multiple social media posts purport to show a news presenter announcing that an Australian biotech firm has “developed a new treatment it hopes will prevent people dying from the Covid-19 vaccine.” However, the video has been deceptively edited: the full news report is about a drug to prevent deaths from Covid-19, not from the vaccine.

The video was shared in this Facebook post on April 23, 2021.

The eight-second clip shows a news presenter. “An Australian biotech company has developed a new treatment it hopes will prevent people dying from Covid vaccine,” she says. 

The Facebook post’s caption reads: “Good news for everyone who took the vaccine: An Australian biotech company has developed a new treatment that will hopefully prevent people dying from the COVID vaccine.”

A screenshot of the misleading Facebook post as of May 26, 2021.

Other instances of the claim appear in this Facebook post, as well as TikTok here and here, and Twitter here

Coronavirus immunisation efforts have been targeted by a deluge of misinformation, fuelling widespread vaccine hesitancy that has left some countries with no choice but to bin unused doses. 

“Listen to this lovely lady and tell me this is a joke. Please!” said one TikTok user who shared the video.

“Simple - DON'T GET THE JAB!” another person wrote on Twitter.

However, the video has been misleadingly edited.

In the video, the logo for Australian network “7 News” is featured, while the weather graphic in the bottom-left shows place names including “MID”, “ARMA”, and “KALA”. These appear to represent locations in Western Australia.

A search for 7 News Perth bulletins on YouTube led AFP to this full recording of the bulletin, which was broadcast at 4:00 pm local time (0800 am GMT) on April 16, 2021. 

The clip in the misleading social media posts appears from the 20:38 timestamp in the YouTube video:

In the video, presenter Tina Altieri mistakenly says “Covid vaccine”, but then corrects herself by stating “Covid-19”.

“An Australian biotech company has developed a new treatment it hopes will prevent people dying from Covid vaccine. Covid-19. As Katrina Blowers reports, it's now being trialled in the United States,” she says.

Australian-US biotech firm Implicit Bioscience announced in April that its drug IC14 would be tested in a Phase 2 clinical trial in Covid-19 patients in a handful of hospitals in the United States.

The drug aims to reduce respiratory distress and damage to coronavirus patients’ internal organs, the firm said in a press release on April 16, 2021.

The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) also issued a press release about the trial on April 13, 2021. 

CORRECTION: This article was updated on November 3, 2021 to correct the issue date of Implicit Bioscience's press release.