By: Laura Vitelli
November 17 2022
The Facebook post mistakes an editorial piece in the journal Surgical Neurology International for a statement by the National Institutes of Health.
A video on Facebook claims that an article found on the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) website serves as proof that the COVID-19 pandemic was manipulated –– in other words, that it was a "plandemic." The video, which was reposted from TikTok on November 13, has accumulated over 20,000 views in 3 days.
In the video, the TikTok account holder shows users how to find the article on the National Institutes of Health website by typing a particular set of keywords into the search bar.
The user then reads aloud a few passages from the article which express critical and conspiratorial views of the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic and states, "The NIH goes off [about] how this whole pandemic was a plandemic and [a] set-up."
The video appears to mistakenly assume that the fact that the article can be found on the National Institutes of Health website means that it is an official statement released by the NIH. The article featured in the video is, in fact, an editorial piece written by Russell L. Blaylock and was originally published in Surgical Neurology International (SNI), an "open access, Internet-only journal that publishes the latest developments in the field of neurosurgery and related clinical and basic neurosciences." Blaylock himself is known for having espoused conspiracy theories regarding the U.S. healthcare system before, having once compared the healthcare reforms that occurred under former U.S. president Barack Obama to the regimes of Nazi Germany.
On the SNI website's "about" page, it states that "SNI will also discuss timely and controversial clinical, social, ethical, and political subjects related to the neurosciences of its readers worldwide. SNI is an independent publication that is not affiliated with any society or organization." It follows that this article falls within the journal's remit of "controversial" publication and does not reflect an official stance by the NIH.
The article can be found via the NIH website because the SNI journal can be found in the National Library of Medicines (NLM) collection. The NLM is an institute within the NIH. As the world's largest medical library, the NLM's collection includes more than seven million books, journals, technical reports, manuscripts, microfilms, photographs, and images related to medicine and medical sciences.
The post on Facebook mistakes an editorial piece in the journal Science Neurology International for an official statement by the NIH. We have therefore marked the post as false.
The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to a lot of potentially dangerous misinformation. For reliable advice on COVID-19, including symptoms, prevention, and available treatment, please refer to the World Health Organization or your national healthcare authority.