Worst paper of 2020? 5G and Coronavirus induction

This paper made my jaw drop:

5G Technology and induction of coronavirus in skin cells – M Fioranelli et al. – J Biol Regul Homeost Agents 2020 Jul 16;34(4). doi: 10.23812/20-269-E-4 [archivedPDF]

The paper suggests that 5G waves (the latest cell phone technology) can spontaneously generate Coronaviruses in skin cells. Yet, there is nothing in this article that proves this extraordinary claim. It is absolute nonsense.

Combining two hot topics into one title, this article is surely asking for some attention. Attention it will get. Because it is one of the worst scientific papers I have seen this year.

The paper, now removed from the journal’s website [archived] and marked “Withdrawn” in PubMed was first brought to my attention on Twitter by @Reviewer__2.

The fantastic James Heathers had some colorful words to say about it as well.

The paper

In the paper [archived abstract, archived PDF], the authors claim that electromagnetic waves emitted by 5G technology can be absorbed by skin cells, promote the cell to make new nucleotides, and thus produce Coronaviruses.

Why cells would specifically produce Coronaviruses, and not other viruses, roses, cats, or dollar bills remains a mystery.

How did the authors prove this extraordinary claim? Well, they don’t. The paper does not include any experiments. It is listed as an Editorial, and it includes a lot of clunky diagrams and impressive formulas, but there is no proof. It is just a wacko hypothesis.

Which diagrams, you may ask?

The diagram to explain it all. There are waves. And cells. And nucleotides and holes. And thus, Coronavirus gets created.

Note that they write that the waves lead to COVID-19 production. They apparently confuse the disease with the virus.

And then there are a bunch of formulas. They are so impressive that the authors might have hoped the reviewers would be afraid to ask any questions.

And of course, there is the Final Figure. It does not prove anything, there is no measured data, but look! the “Probability” axis goes to 120%. Like the “Up to eleven” amplifier from the movie This Is Spinal Tap.

Here is Figure 6 in all its simple glory. This is peak pseudoscience.

In conclusion, the paper appears to just contain a very wild hypothesis, without any proof. It is not a scientific paper.

As I have written before: Extraordinary claims need to come with extraordinary proof. But there is no data here at all. How on earth could this have passed peer review? And how on earth could this journal been included in NCBI’s PubMed index?

The authors

Who are the authors on this article? The first two authors are the notorious duo M Fioranelli and A Sepehri.

I have written about Alireza Sepehri before. In short, Sepehri is an astrophysicist who briefly worked at the Research Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics of Maragha (RIAAM) in Iran, but kept on using his affiliation long after he was not employed anymore. He wrote several preprints and articles in which he decapitated 400 birds to prove they can still live without a head, implanted beans into another bird to create new life, and claimed that DNA of a women will irradiate waves that are canceled by male DNA. Make sure to read his elaborate response to my critique on PubPeer (“we wonder that how this person lets herself to go to twitter and makes some main publishing institutes and publishers questionable“).

Massimo Fioranelli is a Human Physiology professor at the Università degli studi Guglielmo Marconi in Rome. He also has a website to make sure you know that he always graduated Cum Laude (“sempre con lode“).

Fioranelli and Sepehri have published some incoherent papers together before. Of note, they published a paper in which they propose to infect pregnant women with influenza virus as a novel way to reveal the gender of the fetus [PubPeer thread]. In another paper, they claim that water has a memory and that cancer in men or women can be stopped by treatment with cells from the opposite gender [PubPeer]. At least nine of the papers they published are indexed in PubMed.

In summary, this duo has found each other in terms of crazy ideas, and they have found some crazy journals to publish these crazy ideas.

Co-author KM Lomonosov appears to be one of those mysterious authors that can only be found on ResearchGate, and it is not clear if they really exist. Their affiliation is listed as the Moscow State Medical University, which appears to be founded by Mikhail Lomonosov, so this might be a fake name.

The last author on this paper is Torello Lotti, professor of Dermatology and Venereology at the G. Marconi university in Rome. He is also President of the President of the World Health Academy, Dermatology and a visiting Professor at lots of universities. He has authored Lottis of papers (sorry, could not help it) – 86 in 2020 alone. He is also the Editor in Chief of Wiley’s Dermatologic Therapy. It is not clear how an established researcher like Lotti ended up as an author on this pseudoscience paper.

Update July 29: Sylvie Coyaud pointed out to me that Lotti is an established scammer.

The journal

Surprisingly, the journal that published the 5G/Coronavirus paper is indexed in NCBI’s PubMed, giving it an official stamp of approval.

While most predatory journals are not included in the PubMed index, this journal, the Journal of Biological Regulators and Homeostatic Agents, is. Their full catalogue (about 3,000 papers) appears to be included in PubMed.

On their website, the journal promises that all papers are peer-reviewed, and that submissions are very easy. No registration! No password! No papers to be filled out! Just send the manuscripts to Editor In Chief Pio Conti and he will take care of it. There is no information on how much the publishing costs are, unfortunately. The instructions fail to note if including a $1000 euro note with the submission might help.

The journal’s website is formatted very strangely. You cannot select text to copy/paste e.g. the title of a paper. Most papers do not have a link to the full text or a PDF; the website only shows the title and abstract. It is unclear how to actually read these papers. Some examples: here and here.

The journal’s Editorial Board is not searchable either. It is just a poorly scanned, crooked image of a printed page. Editors are not listed with their affiliations, just with their first initial and country. Some of the Editors appear to be deceased:

Another Editor, JW Mier, was implicated in a research misconduct case.

Retracted – or not

After all the outrage this paper caused yesterday on social media and other sites (Twitter, Reddit, 5GRadar, ExtremeTech, Ocasapiens), the journal silently removed the paper. The DOI link now leads to the wrong paper with a different DOI, in what appears to be a violation of scientific publishing rules.

This paper might make you laugh, but it is a serious problem. Because it was indexed in PubMed, it counts as a peer-reviewed scientific paper, and can be used and misused by all kinds of people to support their conspiracy theories.

It is good that the paper was retracted, but it is not OK for a scientific journal to completely remove it from the journal’s page and pretend it never existed.

I hereby urge NCBI to ban this journal from being indexed in PubMed. A journal that is publishing unfounded theories disguised as scientific, peer-reviewed papers, with an editorial board full of deceased people, with no way of selecting text or reading full articles online, and that makes poorly received papers vanish in thin air does not deserve to be included in PubMed.

60 thoughts on “Worst paper of 2020? 5G and Coronavirus induction”

  1. “The instructions fail to note if including a $1000 euro note with the submission might help.”

    Apparently the Editor will tell you the fee after you send in the manuscript. It is not fixed. https://www.biolifesas.org/biolife/publication-fees/

    “The APC payable for an article is agreed upon during the manuscript submission process. The agreed charge will not change, regardless of any change to the journal’s APC.”

    An extra fee is involved for Open Access – otherwise the paper is only accessible to subscribers. The page for ‘Subscriptions’ does not yet exist.
    “Contributors to our journals have the option to publish their articles in Open Access as well. Authors whose manuscripts have been accepted for publication pay a one-time fee, making their article freely available on the journal content website. Your choice for Open Access also allows authors to use the post-print PDF version of their article freely for their own non-commercial purposes immediately upon publication.”

    The Editor does not return the APC if he wishes the paper into the cornfield:
    “Article removal: In rare cases where articles are removed completely after acceptance for publication, we will not refund or credit an APC. This is because Biolife has provided publishing services and is only able to recoup this investment through the APC. The later removal of the article does not detract from this investment and is typically for reasons beyond our control.”

    Like

  2. As I noted in a tweet, the editorial address of this most prestigious of journals leads, on Google maps to a residential area. I wonder if they have panning permission to run a business from the house?

    Edited by Elisabeth Bik: link to residential address removed.

    Like

  3. Why don’t you go and dunk your head in a horse trough u ugly cow……u talk of no proof why don’t you look into those who are behind the covid19 hoax a alleged virus which hasn’t been purified and is actually just exosomes being released by cells…..a PCR test which is useless in diagnosis as said by its inventor……not to mention HIV which has no scientific papers proving it causes aids and the same PCR test is used for diagnosis……the same names and criminals are behind it all……..problem with ugly cows like u is u pedal the main stream narrative and are thick as two tree trunks put together

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes but the critic and the author of this article is a lame scientists. It just assume it is false because there is no data experimentation, moreover he use ridicule. That is the reason we have also fake science authoritarianism. The have become prostitutes and avoided being truthseekers. The bias here is so obvious that i hope even some sleep reader could see it.

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    1. ” PCR test which is useless in diagnosis as said by its inventor”

      Oh dear. PCR is *the* gold standard in virus tests. It literally looks to see if the DNA of that virus exists. It sometimes does false negatives, but never false positives (Unlike antigen tests are a bit more dicey).

      As for your HIV, well you can go on Google Scholar and search and you’ll find well over 2 million research papers that discuss the role of HIV.

      Seriously, don’t just make things up. Thats not a clever way to debate.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Hi, Demonic Destroyer. I’ve just read this entire string of comments. I’ve also spent the better part of 40 years studying every aspect of this absurd ongoing series of human debacles, and more recently … the past 5 months totally immersed in this Covid-19 fiasco, along with 4 other researchers. You are one of very few people in this entire string who’s comments are more than appropriate. You are right, and 240 European scientists are NOT wrong about 5G: http://www.5gappeal.eu/scientists-and-doctors-warn-of-potential-serious-health-effects-of-5g/ . Best thoughts toward ‘destroying the demon’.

      Like

  4. u talk of no proof why don’t you look into those who are behind the covid19 hoax a alleged virus which hasn’t been purified and is actually just exosomes being released by cells…..a PCR test which is useless in diagnosis as said by its inventor……not to mention HIV which has no scientific papers proving it causes aids and the same PCR test is used for diagnosis……the same names and criminals are behind it all……..problem with individuals like u is u pedal the main stream narrative and claim no evidence for things the mainstream doesn’t endorse and buy what they do without any issues or questions

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No sources. Poor spelling. A bunch of previously debunked conspiracy theory stupidity. Completely irrelevant to the topic at hand. And absolutely no substance. Do you have this same twaddle pre-prepared so you can just copy and paste it on demand?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. You are so sleep, programmed and in a state of slave, that it will not possible to explain you anything. I hope your masters pay you well in their indoctrination system, with a good work, food, and recognition. When the wall hit you you will wake up.

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  5. The paper is extraordinary, it is labeled “editorial” (that usually implies an endorsement by chief editor) but then it says “in this research we show…”. I wonder whether, like in other journals I think, editorials are exempt from peer review. Now some history. I must say I published once in this journal when “predatory publishing” was not something people would talk about and I had no suspicion whatsoever, neither I noted anything strange (other than it was not a top journal of course).
    Yesterday my first instinct was to look at the journal to see if I was on the editorial board as I vaguely remember an invitation by the chief editor whom I had known in the 1990s as he was working on the cytokine field and we were working in two different universities in Boston at the time. Luckily I am not on board, but I note that many respected colleagues of mine are listed and I am sure they would resign in a second if they knew (some of them may be dead, like Sid Pestka, one of the fathers of interferons). I wrote the chief editor yesterday at his university email explaining that, in view of this, I feel like I should write to the few on editorial board whom I know to tell them what happened and I am sure they would resign: the editors are all among the top scientists in the cytokine field and probably just responded yes when asked, exactly because at the time there were no “predatory No answer so far and I tried an email to the journal. Without a response, it’s difficult for me to understand why they would want to get into trouble by publishing a such a weird paper that would likely be the end of the journal. People may evolve in strange unpredictable way when getting older and, apart from bad science, for some reasons we old white males seem to be particularly vulnerable to fall in love with covid deniers and hoaxers (see the references by Nobel prize Montagnies cited in the article)…
    I will post here if there will be future development but if I get no answer I will write those editors that I know flagging all this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. WTF are you pressing them to not provide their research to the public? Are you a lobbist? because you are far away of being a scientist you look more as a censor.

      Like

  6. “He has authored Lottis of papers (sorry, could not help it) – 86 in 2020 alone”

    Psoriasis and COVID-19: A narrative review with treatment considerations.
    A case of erythema multiforme major in a patient with COVID 19: The role of corticosteroid treatment.
    Biologics and Small Molecules in the Treatment of COVID-19.
    Ultraviolet and COVID-19 pandemic.
    COVID 19 and its impact on cosmetic dermatology.
    Shifting dermatology market strategies from cosmetics to moisturizers and sanitizers treatments in COVID-19 era.
    Teledermatology during COVID-19 pandemic: Ethical and legal considerations about the principles of treatment prescription and privacy.
    Superficial thrombophlebitis in a patient with COVID 19: Heparin treatment after evaluation of D-Dimer.
    Reply to: “Characterization of acute acro-ischemic lesions in non-hospitalized patients: a case series of 132 patients during the COVID-19 outbreak”.
    Psoriatic arthritis and COVID-19 pandemic: Consequences in medical treatment?

    Bit of a trend emerging there. Not saying that Lotti is a shameless opportunist or anything.

    Like

  7. Thank You!! Someone sent it to me via Instagram. Through out the research they say could. Could is an important word. I could win the power bowl. It doesn’t make it a fact. It means it is a possibility. Would you not have to test the skin cells of those who had Covid-19? Research concluding what they say does not happen in 6months. Conspiracy theorist look for validation through any means.

    Like

  8. Elisabeth Bik,

    How is it possible that PumMed publish such ‘science’? Maybe someone can get in the computer of them?

    Like

    1. This sounds right. It is hard to see any other motivation for publishing than disinformation. In particular, it isn’t a sincere mistake – no one smart enough to write this fake science could be dumb enough believe it. This is a new and important step in the pollution of public discourse to try to contaminate the scientific literature. Sadly, the withdrawal came too late – there are lots of links to it. The world crisis of epistemology just got worse.

      Like

  9. unfortunately the author on this aticle use the argoemntum ad hominem to prove the absolute fakness of this OFFICIAL PEER REVIEW EDITORIAL PUBLICATION , if somebody read the pdf file itself cna see how it explain the possibility to create a virus like covid-19

    Like

  10. “It is not clear how an established researcher like Lotti ended up as an author on this pseudoscience paper.”

    Torello Lotti used to be a full professor of dermatology at the University of Florence, but got accused of misconduct (including corruption) a while back. It’s unclear from a quick google news search if he cleared his name or not, but it’s perhaps possible that he lost his previous status as a result. His current affiliation (G. Marconi University) is the same as Fioranelli and from what I can tell it’s online only, so probably not a very established or respected institution. There are reasons to believe that Lotti also might have a conflict of interest in his two recent interviews in the right wing Italian newspaper “Il Giornale”, where he cites two of his own very short and poor quality papers that claim a correlation between alopecia and skin rashes and acute COVID-19. Lotti, as far as I can tell from googling around still offers his services to treat skin conditions and alopecia in his private practice, despite not mentioning that in the “Conflict of interest” section.

    Like

  11. This paper is crap. But not only this one. The most respetable journals and scientists also publish crap. And then you want people to believe science…
    Another recent hoax – a HCQ paper retracted because apparently all the data was just created in somebody’s imagination.

    Like

  12. A really embarassing gang of pseudo-scientists.

    An explanation of the “sempre con lode” used in Fioranelli’s website:

    “sempre con” is an Italian form for saying “also in this case”, so in that case it does not mean “always”.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. One expects so much more intellectual rigor from the Department of Venereology at the I.M. Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University.

    Like

  14. This article Elisabeth is more of the biased bullshit we come to expect searching online. We have to watch study after study get withdrawn as a result of the researchers under pressure to remove it. Pressure like that caused by science authors like you. Who wouldn’t have any consideration for a fact if it involved a cover up even if it was proven in a study.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. The conclusion about the article is obvious: bogus. A totally random process leading to .. tadaaa: a biologically speaking, extremely effective virus! Like the proverbial chimpanzee at the piano randomly playing Bach’s Polonaise fis-moll Opus 44. Mr A. Jones loves it: scientific proof of the global conspiracy against a free humanity. Again.

    Like

  16. I was certain of scientific fraud when I read in the “Abstract” that “ DNA is built of charged electrons”. As opposed to uncharged electrons? The whole paper is fabricated gobbledygook! The journal and its editorial staff is complicit in scientific fraud; thus this journal should be removed from the PubMed index.

    Daniel L. Feeback, Ph,D,
    Affiliate Professor
    University of Oklahoma.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Hey I find your article a little bit too aggressive and superficial. It might be true that the claim of the paper is not true. Though even if this might be true I would be wishing to read a more critical and neutral argue on it and where exactly you think the paper fails instead of throwing around with a whole bunch of emotional statements and picking some details.

    Like

  18. I don’t know what’s worse, this article here, or the article it’s criticising.
    “He failed to add sending $1,000 might help get it published.”
    That’s right, he never said that, so why imply it? Oh yes, it bolsters your claim, without any evidence, that it’s all a sham… Ironically the thing you’re accusing him and his agency of doing.
    I’m all for the truth calling out the lies, no matter what name, country, profession etc they go by, and that’s something any honest scientific mind can agree with, if not practice.
    If anyone’s in the science of distorting the facts to bend the truth in their favour (and their next grant) then you’ve joined a growing band of scientists that are little more than charging for a swing of the wrist holding a rubber stamp.

    Like

    1. The reason is that scientific journals are usually very open about their publication charges, while this journal does not list it. If the cost of publishing with a scientific journal is not stated, that is a red flag for that journal being predatory. They might send you a surprise bill afterwards.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Thank you for this article – I saw this paper doing the rounds online and I could not believe it! This journal also didn’t appear to be on any predatory journal watch lists, and it was on pubmed, so I was very very confused as to how anyone possibly thought publishing this paper was a good idea! I guess we have finally discovered that this journal is completely worthless.

    And now you can bet all the COVID-19 conspiracy theorists, who normally think that mainstream scientific research is bullshit, are going to latch onto this paper and hold it up as proof for a range of crackpot conspiracy theories 😦

    Like

  20. Dr. Masaru Emoto proved that water holds memory. Our cells are composed of water and it is proven that trauma exists in the body just as well as the mental and emotional. Your comment that these two scientists were crazy to say that water holds memory is absolutely ridiculous! I am appalled at your lack of research in this area before making such a comment. Actually, recent research science is looking into water based computer chips for its capacity to hold memory. I watched Gregg Braden speak about this within this year. Now the real question is: are you a deep state satanic sympathizer and paid to discredit others?

    Like

    1. Emoto also proved water knows about 10th century dictators and has a moral opinion about them… (when exposed to pieces of paper with “Stalin” or “Hitler” written on them)

      Like

    2. Masau Emoto did not prove anything. His experiments were not confirmed when a blind evaluation was used https://web.archive.org/web/20140826160731/http://spirituality-health.com/articles/latest-message-water-dr-emoto-spiritual-madoff, and -most important- he refused to participate to the James Randi chllenge and to win a million dollars! https://www.questia.com/magazine/1G1-419147461/can-emotions-affect-matter-an-empirical-test-of-masaru

      Like

  21. Elizabeth, I commend your commitment to tracking down pseudoscientific content. Hope you will be open to a correction regarding the following statement.

    “Here is Figure 6 in all its simple glory. This is peak pseudoscience. (…) It does not prove anything, there is no measured data, but look! the “Probability” axis goes to 120%. ”

    In intself, scaling the probability axis is a proof of nothing more than incompetence in data visualisation. The plot does not appear to predict any values for P in excess of 100%. The model seems to be based on completely flawed assumptions, as you rightly pointed out.

    Like

    1. Incompetence in data visualisation… hhmmm, oooohkaay.
      set /satire -on
      This kind of scaling reminded me of some other example of … nothing more than incompetence.
      Cammaerts et al once wrote in
      GSM 900 MHz radiation inhibits ants’ association between food sites and encountered cues
      https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22268919/
      as follows:
      “The power density at a distance r can be calculated using the Formula:
      P (Watt)/[4xPiusx(r (m²)] with Pius=22/7=3,1416”
      Peer reviewed, as well.
      set /satire -off
      Off Topic, sorry.

      Like

  22. The Math is strange.
    Look at Eqn (41). Everything is wrong with that “Equation”
    A simple check of dimensions shows, that this is mumbojumbo but by no means energy.
    Look at the addition of “meter” and “meter times minus 1/2”. And so on.
    What about the mysterious constant Ks in Eqn (2) and Eqn (42)? Does it fit the 100% in Fig. 6?
    OMG

    Like

  23. hey so you failed to prove the equations to be wrong therefore failing to disprove the thesis please go over the math and prove it wrong also show your work!! thank you 🙂

    Like

    1. Eqn(41) should give a kind of Energy (EDNA).
      Energy is of dimension kg*m²/s²
      The right hand term of Eqn(41) is basically a product. A product of two terms: A large one and a short one.
      The short term is of Dimension “meter-³”
      So the first (the long) term should be of dimension kg*m^5/s². Is it? Any kg in there?? Any s in there??
      The first term contains nothing than lengths and numbers.
      Morover: The first term is strange math itself. There are several subterms like “(rbase + lambdaEM^-1/2)”. Which is the sum of a length and the inverse squareroot of a length. This looks strange, at least to me.

      Eqn(42).
      Maybe 42 is not the answer to anything. but I expect it to be the formula for Fig. 6. You too?
      So what about the constant Ks in there?

      If they had just copied some impressive but correct formula containing, say, Maxwell’s law or Heisenberg’s uncertainty relation… I wouldn´t have said anything.

      I didn´t intend any proof or disproof of the thesis. Useless.
      “Some wavelengths in these technologies are smaller than the size of biological cells […]”.
      72 GHz that´s 4.2 mm wavelength. What are we talking about??
      Not worth even one more word.
      Elisabeth has said anything that should be said.

      Liked by 2 people

  24. I love the article! It is a masterpiece. If you have a moment, read it. I found this special: ‘A DNA is formed from hexagonal and pentagonal manifolds; the emitted waves thus have hexagonal and pentagonal shapes. ‘Hexagonal and pentagonal waves? I’m just a biologist, so I had to check: these things don’t exist indeed. Also: ‘h is the plank constant’. This must be ‘h is Planck’s constant’. A freshman’s mistake. Then look again at the probability curve above. This should be a smooth, neat S curve. Instead, we see a shaky hand trying not to produce something too clumsy. Boy oh boy!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. I personally reached out to the NIH, including their Office of Review; the five other professors at the college in Rome, and the school in MI mentioned in the paper. The NIH opened a case on it, and said they opened an investigation on this. A few days later it was retracted. I would like to think I had a part in getting this removed.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Thank you for posting this. You are right. Withdrawing the article is not enough. These sites need to take responsibility for misinformation.

    Like

  27. not saying the paper to be true or false, but I would like to add this important quote in relation to what people generally perceive as “the truth” and what the deem to be outright false (usually rather quickly such as in this case and many others related to our present crisis ongoing)

    “All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.” – Arthur Schopenhauer

    Like

  28. Dear Elisabeth Bik,

    in your analysis of this “study” I agree with your opinion. It’s nothing to prove.
    BUT !
    Please show me a scientific study which proves that:
    1. the Covid-19 virus triggers a disease
    2. Transmission of the Covid-19 virus by droplet infection and subsequent illness (infection)
    3. Fulfillment of the Henle Koch Postulates

    You are welcome to link the associated studies.
    Many thanks

    Like

    1. Never Believe Anything Until It Is Officially Denied !

      NO connection between autism and vaccines.
      NO connection between 5g and health.
      NO connection between big pharma and pharmacratic fascism

      Now skip NO and you have it.

      Like

  29. If it wasn’t true, I mean the relation between 5G and coronavirus, there wouldn’t be so many “fact checkers” paid by the Open Society to mute them.

    Like

  30. I don’t know if anyone mentioned this but while there is a central Michigan university and a university in Saginaw, MI, they are not the same thing. It is Saginaw Valley State University in Saginaw, which is on the Eastern side of the state BTW.

    Like

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