Multiple social media posts have falsely claimed the World Economic Forum (WEF) called for a ban on eggs following a study that purportedly concluded they can "cure COVID naturally". In response to the posts, the WEF told AFP it had not called for a ban on eggs. According to a researcher in the study cited in the posts, it is inconclusive whether eating eggs can prevent Covid-19.
The Facebook post was published on February 9, 2023.
It features a link to an article headlined, "WEF Vows to BAN 'Dangerous' Eggs After Study Finds They Cure COVID Naturally - News Punch".
The link also features a photograph of World Economic Forum (WEF) founder Klaus Schwab, and a screenshot of a tweet purportedly from the WEF which reads: "Eating eggs increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes."
A screenshot of the misleading post as of March 13, 2023
Other instances of the false claim appeared on Facebook here, here, and here.
The WEF has been the target of frequent misinformation in recent years, as debunked by AFP here and here.
In response to the new posts shared online, a spokesperson for the WEF said: "I confirm that the World Economic Forum did not tweet this and never made such a claim."
Fabricated claimThe post links to an article on NewsPunch, a website that has previously shared misinformation debunked by fact-checkers including AFP.
However, apart from the article's headline and lead image, there are no references to the WEF in the story.
There are also no links to the purported WEF tweet about eggs. A search of the purported tweet's text found no matching posts on the WEF's Twitter account.
A further search for WEF tweets featuring the word "eggs" found no similar claims about the organisation seeking to ban eggs.
No proof eggs 'prevent Covid-19'The NewsPunch article goes on to state that "a recent scientific study found that eggs can prevent Covid", linking to a now-deleted tweet that makes the same claim.
A screenshot in that tweet shows a study that reads: "Chicken Egg Yolk Antibodies (IgYs) block the binding of multiple SARS-CoV-2 spike protein variants to human ACE2".
A screenshot of the now-deleted tweet linked in the NewsPunch article
However, as one of the researchers in the study told AFP, it is inconclusive whether eggs can prevent Covid-19 in humans.
Duan Shengbao, an associate researcher at the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Suzhou Institute of Biomedical Engineering and Technology, told AFP they were unable to conclude that eggs can guard against the virus in humans without further studies.
While the team found certain antibodies within egg yolks extracted from hens immunised against Covid-19 had a neutralising effect on the virus, Duan stressed that the study had been conducted in vitro -- outside of a human body -- and that the study used a modified version of the virus known as a pseudovirus.
"Our study only shows that the SARS-CoV-2 immunised egg yolk antibody has a significant inhibitory effect on replication and proliferation of the pseudovirus in vitro," he said. "At this stage, we cannot infer if this antibody is effective in the prevention of contracting Covid-19 in humans. We need more studies for that."
Another study cited in the article claims that "researchers at the University of California, Davis have been able to produce antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein in hen eggs".
A statement on the study says researchers -- who used hens immunised with a vaccine based on the Covid-19 virus -- were working "to develop the egg-based antibody technology".
While researchers hope "to deploy these antibodies in a preventative treatment such as a spray, that could be used by people at high risk of exposure to coronavirus", neither the statement nor the study, claims consuming eggs will prevent Covid-19.