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

Misleading Wall Street Journal opinion piece makes the unsubstantiated claim that the U.S. will have herd immunity by April 2021

in Wall Street Journal, by Marty Makary

— 26 Feb 2021

"The article’s claim that the U.S. is near herd immunity rests on two numbers: 1) the detection of infections by testing (claimed to be 10 – 25 percent) and 2) the infection fa..

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..

CLAIM REVIEWS

Shark Tank judges didn’t endorse a “keto diet pill”; many advertisements for keto diet supplements promoted by suspicious Facebook accounts

CLAIM
Shark Tank judges backed “keto diet pill”; ketogenic-based supplements let you lose weight while sleeping

SOURCE: Anonymous, Facebook

Published: 15 Apr 2021

VERDICT

Compensation for vaccine injury claims can be awarded even without proof that the vaccine caused the injury

CLAIM
“Since 1986, [the U.S. Government] has paid over $4.5 billion dollars for injury claims to individuals damaged by vaccines. We all wish that vaccines were 100% safe, but the truth is, they’re not.”

SOURCE: Health Choice Connecticut, Facebook

Published: 14 Apr 2021

VERDICT

Scientific evidence supports the use of face masks to reduce COVID-19 spread, mainly by preventing infectious liquid particles from reaching uninfected people

CLAIM
Scientific evidence doesn’t support the wearing of face masks; “why do you care if I don't wear a mask? Doesn't your mask protect you?”

SOURCE: Dennis Prager, Townhall Media

Published: 12 Apr 2021

VERDICT

Not all coronaviruses are seasonal, contrary to pathologist Ryan Cole’s claim; COVID-19 vaccines are effective at preventing illness

CLAIM
Coronaviruses are all seasonal and go away on their own, including those that cause SARS and MERS; ivermectin is effective for preventing and treating COVID-19; COVID-19 vaccines are “gene therapy”, don’t give immunity or prevent transmission

SOURCE: Ryan Cole, Instagram, YouTube, Bitchute

Published: 04 Apr 2021

VERDICT

Heart attack victims shouldn’t use “cough CPR” on themselves, contrary to chain email dating back to 1999

CLAIM
Heart attack “victims can help themselves by coughing repeatedly and very vigorously”

SOURCE: Facebook users, Facebook

Published: 30 Mar 2021

VERDICT

Messenger RNA is essential for life and a normal component of cells; study by researchers at Memorial Sloan Kettering is unrelated to RNA vaccines

CLAIM
“Scientists at Sloan Kettering discover mRNA inactivates tumor-suppressing proteins, meaning it can promote cancer”

SOURCE: S.D. Wells, Natural News

Published: 23 Mar 2021

VERDICT

Vaccines are safe and aren’t associated with autoimmune disease, contrary to claim in viral video by chiropractor Steven Baker

CLAIM
“Vaccines cause autoimmune disease”; COVID-19 vaccine will “change your genes”; aborted fetal tissue is in vaccines

SOURCE: Steven Baker, Facebook

Published: 11 Mar 2021

VERDICT

Data from Israel showed that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine reduces the likelihood of dying from COVID-19; analysis in a forum post claiming the opposite is flawed

CLAIM
“the Pfizer vaccines, for the elderly, killed during the 5-week vaccination period about 40 times more people than the disease itself would have killed”

SOURCE: Haim Yativ, Children’s Health Defense, GreenMedInfo

Published: 09 Mar 2021

VERDICT

Yes, COVID-19 vaccines will help us safely resume normal activities like going to restaurants and meeting people, once enough people are vaccinated for herd immunity

CLAIM
The COVID-19 vaccines won’t let us stop mask-wearing, physical distancing and restaurants, pubs, and cinemas still remain closed, so why vaccinate?

SOURCE: Facebook users, Telegram, Facebook

Published: 04 Mar 2021

VERDICT

COVID-19 vaccines don’t increase the incidence of poor outcomes during pregnancy, according to current safety data on COVID-19 vaccines

CLAIM
COVID-19 vaccines caused miscarriages

SOURCE: Facebook users, Twitter, Facebook

Published: 19 Feb 2021

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...