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caption: Johnny T. Stine, a Seattle-based microbiologist, in his lab at an undisclosed location.
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Johnny T. Stine, a Seattle-based microbiologist, in his lab at an undisclosed location.
Credit: Photo provided by Stine

Seattle 'vaccine' peddler pleads guilty to federal drug misbranding charges

Johnny T. Stine, a microbiologist who claimed to have created a coronavirus "vaccine" in half a day, has pleaded guilty to federal misdemeanor charges of introducing a misbranded drug into interstate commerce.

Stine, 57, had publicly admitted to injecting an undisclosed number of people with the substance, and is accused of persisting with efforts to sell the shots, despite multiple warnings from officials to stop. He faces up to one year in prison.

Stine came onto the radar of federal authorities in early March 2020, after he advertised shots of the purported vaccine for $400 on his personal Facebook page, according to federal court documents. At that time, there was no authorized Covid-19 vaccine on the market.

Stine was arrested in January, days after someone he injected with his supposed vaccine was hospitalized with Covid-19. Stine told KUOW in a text message that he had "vaccinated" the woman in the spring of 2020 and that he had visited her while she was sick with Covid in December 2020, prior to her hospitalization. According to Stine, the woman — who is not named in court documents — recovered from the virus.

"I was with her when she was coughing, touched the hand she coughed in against mine," he said. "I was in a way testing my immune response when I visited her. I never even got so much as a sniffle."

RELATED: This Seattle man peddled a coronavirus 'vaccine.' He says he's injected himself and others

Stine told KUOW in May 2020 that he had injected himself and several others, including his own son who was a minor at the time, with the substance. He would not disclose how many shots he administered.

Stine unknowingly interacted with undercover investigators from the the Food and Drug Administration's Office of Criminal Investigations in April 2020, offering to travel to Oregon and California to "vaccinate" the agents' relatives.

That same month, Stine was served with a cease-and-desist from Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson. But Stine persisted.

In June 2020, Stine entered a consent decree with the state, under which he agreed to provide the names and contact information of his buyers, disclose how much he had charged them, and repay anyone who requested a refund. The agreement also imposed a contingency fine of $30,000 for noncompliance.

But Stine continued to market the "vaccine," according to court records, and traveled to Idaho in August 2020 after agreeing to inject an undercover agent with the substance. Federal law enforcement officers seized the materials he'd brought with him.

Officials later searched the Redmond warehouse in which Stine claimed he'd developed the Covid "vaccine." Amid the search, they also found materials related to so-called vaccines Stine said he had created for cancer patients.

An investigator wrote that evidence found in the warehouse indicated that Stine "often obtained a sample of a cancer patient’s tumor and used that sample to prepare what he called a vaccine."

Law enforcement also seized Stine's cell phone, which they say contained text messages between Stine and a woman in which he agreed to "vaccinate" her against Covid in exchange for sexual favors.

It's not presently clear when Stine is due to be sentenced.

This story was updated on Friday, August 27 to include new comments from Stine.