Flora Teoh

Science Editor

Flora obtained a PhD in Biological Sciences from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. During her doctoral studies, she examined how a human-colonising microbe could evolve in response to changes within a mammalian host, and how this process could influence microbial virulence. After a brief stint as a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, she joined Health Feedback in 2018 as science editor.

The Science Feedback team

ARTICLE REVIEWS

New York Post article makes speculative, unsupported claim that mutation could enable the virus causing COVID-19 to evade handwashing and mask-wearing

in New York Post, by Jackie Salo

— 08 Oct 2020

"The preprint that the article focuses on actually says nothing about the most egregious claim made in the article: that the virus is evolving to get around hand-washing, masks, et..

Telegraph article describing the hypothesis that face masks can variolate a population receives mixed reviews on its scientific accuracy

in The Telegraph, by Georgina Hayes

— 24 Sep 2020

"The Telegraph headline is obviously misleading but the subheading is accurate. Masks don’t give immunity; rather, the argument is that infections are milder or asymptomatic and ..

Potential role for T cells in COVID-19 immunity accurately reported in National Geographic article

in National Geographic, by Carrie Arnold

— 19 Aug 2020

"The article accurately discusses the recent findings about the presence/relevance of T cell response against COVID-19. Indeed, both arms of adaptive immunity, humoral and cellular..

People who do not show symptoms can contribute to significant COVID-19 transmission, contrary to CNBC report

in CNBC, by William Feuer, Noah Higgins-Dunn

— 10 Jun 2020

there is already “abundant data” showing that people who are not showing symptoms—which could include asymptomatic, presymptomatic, and paucisymptomatic individuals—compris...

COVID-19 vaccine candidate by Pittsburgh scientists show promising results in animal studies, but clinical trials still needed before efficacy in humans is known

in Pittsburgh Magazine, by Garret Roberts

— 11 Apr 2020

Scientists who reviewed this article’s scientific credibility found that the reporting was generally accurate. However, they also highlighted a missed opportunity to provide read...

Viral New York Post article perpetuates the unfounded claim that the virus that causes COVID-19 is manmade

in New York Post, by Steven W. Mosher

— 02 Mar 2020

Overall, Mosher’s argument is based on unfounded speculation and scientific inaccuracies. Such claims, which continue to be perpetuated even by public officials, have real-world ...

New York Times accurately reports vaccine-derived polio outbreaks caused by low vaccine coverage

in New York Times, by Associated Press

— 02 Dec 2019

"The content of the article is correct: attenuated polio strain type 2 contained in the oral vaccine can – in very rare cases – mutate and cause disease in under-immunized pers..

Daily Mail article misleads with clickbait headline claiming cowpox-derived virus will “kill every type of cancer”

in Daily Mail, by Zoe Zaczek

— 20 Nov 2019

"This article substantially overhypes early pre-clinical work with a viral therapy that has not yet been tested in even the earliest stages of human clinical trials. The headline i..

Washington Post article provides accurate and insightful report on recent spate of vaping-related illnesses

in Washington Post, by Lena H. Sun and Lindsey Bever

— 13 Sep 2019

"At the moment, it is not possible to know if these pulmonary diseases are related to propylene glycol, glycerol, nicotine, flavorings, or more likely, synthetic/natural drugs some..

The Atlantic provides accurate summary of research on gut microbiome, hypothesizes well-reasoned potential benefits of consuming fresh produce

in The Atlantic, by James Hamblin

— 02 Sep 2019

"The article provides a well balanced discussion of current knowledge surrounding the gut microbiota and benefits of eating whole foods. The author could have provided more details..

CLAIM REVIEWS

No evidence that COVID-19 vaccines cause more severe disease; antibody-dependent enhancement has not been observed in clinical trials

CLAIM
COVID-19 vaccines will cause more severe disease through antibody-dependent enhancement

SOURCE: Facebook users, Facebook

Published: 27 Nov 2020

VERDICT

Danish face mask study did not show that masks were ineffective at reducing spread of COVID-19; study was underpowered and results were inconclusive

CLAIM
“Masks make no significant difference”; “Masks have no significant effect”

SOURCE: Sharyl Attkisson, Alex Berenson, Buck Sexton, Anthony Sabatini, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram

Published: 20 Nov 2020

VERDICT

Article claiming that “masks don’t work” misleads readers by inaccurately interpreting a withdrawn study and a published study conducted on U.S. Marine Corps recruits

CLAIM
“Pro-mask study withdrawn after virus spread in counties analyzed by researchers”; “masks don’t work”

SOURCE: Daniel Horowitz, The Blaze

Published: 18 Nov 2020

VERDICT

Although fetal-derived cells are used to grow viruses for some COVID-19 vaccines, the cells are not part of the vaccines

CLAIM
“CONFIRMED - aborted male fetus in [COVID-19] vaccine”

SOURCE: Anonymous, Facebook

Published: 16 Nov 2020

VERDICT

The U.S. sees record numbers of daily new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in November 2020

CLAIM
“There were 144,305 newly reported COVID-19 cases in the United States today. This beats the previous record of 133,819 cases reported on Monday, November 9. This is the 8th day in a row with over 100,000 cases reported.”

SOURCE: Ali Velshi, Twitter, NBC News

Published: 13 Nov 2020

VERDICT

Claim that high PCR test sensitivity inflates COVID-19 cases wrongly conflates the issue of contagiousness with the presence of infection

CLAIM
“Dr. Anthony Fauci appeared to acknowledge that large numbers of positive COVID-19 cases may arise from oversensitive tests that pick up mere fragments of the virus rather than active, viable infections. If true, many patients may have been receiving false-positive test results”

SOURCE: Daniel Payne, Just the News

Published: 12 Nov 2020

VERDICT

A rise in the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths starting in September 2020 contradicts the claim by Michael Yeadon that “the pandemic is fundamentally over in the U.K.”

CLAIM
“the pandemic is fundamentally over in the U.K.”; “We now know that loads of people had prior immunity [...] I believe we are now firmly at community immunity.”; “Viruses don’t do waves.”

SOURCE: Julia Hartley-Brewer, Michael Yeadon, talkRADIO

Published: 10 Nov 2020

VERDICT

The number of COVID-19 deaths over the entire pandemic is higher in the U.S. than Europe, even when controlling for population size

CLAIM
The U.S. has “a better handle on [COVID-19] than Europe”; “the disease is less deadly here than it is in most of Europe, based on case fatality data”

SOURCE: I&I Editorial Board, Issues & Insights

Published: 04 Nov 2020

VERDICT

Fewer flu cases observed in the start of this flu season, but Donald Trump Jr.’s tweet suggesting data manipulation is unsupported and cites inaccurate figures

CLAIM
“We went from 75,000 flu deaths last year in America to almost 0 [...] do you think there may be allocation games being played to manipulate the truth?”

SOURCE: Donald Trump Jr., Twitter

Published: 29 Oct 2020

VERDICT

Masks are effective at reducing COVID-19 primary transmission through respiratory droplets; the CDC acknowledges airborne transmission via aerosols can also occur

CLAIM
“CDC says [the SARS-CoV-2] virus was never airborne, rendering masks worthless”

SOURCE: Owen Shroyer, Banned.video

Published: 25 Oct 2020

VERDICT

INSIGHTS

“Plandemic: Indoctornation” video rehashes debunked claims and conspiracy theories about the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccines

— 20 Aug 2020

Plandemic is a pseudo-documentary produced by American filmmaker Mikki Willis, whose first instalment was published in May 2020. Featuring an interview with anti-vaccination activi...

Computing Forever interview with Dolores Cahill contains numerous inaccuracies about COVID-19 and vaccines

— 22 May 2020

This video, first published on 11 May 2020, features an interview between Dave Cullen, also known as Computing Forever on YouTube, and Dolores Cahill, a professor at University Col...

“Plandemic” vignette featuring anti-vaccination activist Judy Mikovits contains numerous false and unsupported claims about COVID-19

— 08 May 2020

This video is the first in a series of vignettes preceding a movie titled “Plandemic”. First published on 5 May 2020, it quickly went viral on Facebook, with more than 2.2 mill...

Did the COVID-19 virus originate from a lab or nature? Examining the evidence for different hypotheses of the novel coronavirus’ origins

— 24 Apr 2020

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak in December 2019, many hypotheses have been advanced to explain where the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) actually came from. Initial re...

Do radio waves from mobile devices cause cancer? A look at the evidence

— 08 Apr 2019

Mobile phones have become an integral part of our lives, and most people would not consider even leaving the house without one. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) has est...

How we know vaccines don’t cause autism – and why this belief persists

— 26 Mar 2019

The claim that “vaccines cause autism” first received its scientific backing by Andrew Wakefield’s now-retracted study in The Lancet, published in 1998. The study...

The Most Popular Health Articles of 2018, a Scientific Credibility Review

— 28 Jan 2019

News about health and medicine touch the lives of many people, therefore they often become highly circulated on the Internet. Many of these articles achieve viral status, but how m...