Seattle Entrepreneur Johnny Stine Sold Bogus, $400 COVID Vaccine, Feds Say

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The Food and Drug Administration is investigating the founder of a Seattle biotech company after he allegedly peddled the fake vaccine on social media.
A Seattle entrepreneur is under federal investigation for allegedly claiming he'd manufactured a vaccine for the coronavirus—and selling it for $400 a pop.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration launched an investigation into Johnny Stine, the 56-year-old founder and president of North Coast Biologics, a Seattle biotech company with a focus on antibodies, after he touted the bogus vaccine on social media, according to a 40-page search warrant application obtained by The Daily Beast.

Investigators state Stine, who also faced and settled a state investigation into his alleged scam, offered to supply and administer the purported vaccine "to those who contacted him in Washington state and in other states." State officials believe Stine administered the fake vaccine to at least 30 people.

The FDA has not approved any drugs to treat the coronavirus that has killed over 204,000 Americans and infected over 7 million.

According to the August search warrant application, the FDA initiated an investigation into Stine on March 12 after receiving a complaint about the entrepreneur's vaccine claims on LinkedIn. A review of Stine's social-media accounts show the entrepreneur, who founded North Coast Biologics in 2008, began to tout his vaccine earlier that month—just as the first cases of the coronavirus were reported in the United States.

"I can no longer stay silent. No government or corporation is ever going to protect us. We are the ones who have to look out for each other," Stine wrote in a four-paragraph March 2 Facebook post, before claiming he had "made a vaccine to nCoV-'19 to the Spike protein and the receptor binding domain of this protein."

Stine said that after making a "small amount for testing" and injecting himself with one shot, he was "titer-positive to the vaccine" and had antibodies that made him immune to the deadly virus. The entrepreneur finished his post by offering the vaccine to 100 people "who simply feel they need it because of increased risk or…
Pilar Melendez, Seamus Hughes
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