The smallpox virus was first identified in humans in 1970, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and was considered difficult to spread between humans. However, since the beginning of the year, an outbreak, mainly in Europe, has put the WHO (World Health Organization) on alert. By the afternoon of this Monday (6), the unit had already confirmed 1,009 cases, with a further 70 suspects – seven of them are being investigated in Brazil.
Researchers are still studying the characteristics of the disease, but as with the Covid-19 pandemic, rumors are circulating on the Internet. False theories say, for example, that monkey pox is a disease “caused by vaccines” and that Spanish authorities would have been aware of the problem before it occurred.
Check the experts’ answers to this and other false theories.
Monkey cups and the AstraZeneca vaccine
Posts shared on social media since May suggest that monkey pox would be related to the anti-Covid vaccine produced by Oxford / AstraZeneca, as among its components is a chimpanzee adenovirus. The claim, according to experts, is a fallacy.
This adenovirus has been genetically modified so that it can not multiply in the human body and it also belongs to a different family than the virus that causes monkey pox.
Experts interviewed by AFP insist that there is no connection between the two pathogens.
The disease got its name (“monkey pox”) because it was first discovered in monkeys in 1958.
“But the monkeys are not the hosts. It is highly likely that in Africa, the continent where the virus originates, its sources are rodents,” Professor Flávio Guimarães da Fonseca, president of the Brazilian Society of Virology, told AFP.
The adenovirus is used in the vaccine as a vector to carry genetic instructions to the vaccinated cells, which then produce their own immune response against Covid.
Like other “viral vector” vaccines, adenovirus is not capable of contaminating the body of the vaccinated person.
Cups in Spain
A message on Telegram questioned why the Spanish government “bought” two million doses of the smallpox vaccine in 2019. According to the publication, these vaccines prove that the authorities knew that cases would arise.
Experts explain that the disease has been eradicated, but their virus is not. They also say that it is normal for a country like Spain to have strategic reserves of the immunizer.
Dr. Jaime Jesús Pérez, spokesman for the Spanish Association of Vaccinology (AEV), told AFP that “smallpox is an eradicated disease, but its virus still exists, in both the United States and Russia, in laboratories with maximum safety.”
The disease has been considered eradicated since 1979 thanks to vaccination. Since 1984, the general population has not been immunized.
Other posts on social media mocked the alleged “rapid” development of PCR tests to detect the monkey pox virus and warned of “false positives, as with Covid”.
The World Health Organization (WHO) explains that the most appropriate way to diagnose the disease, in addition to the clinic, is a PCR test. This has been the protocol for years, long before the Covid-19 pandemic.
The PCR test “is based on the evolution of molecules that only recognize the genetic sequencing of this microorganism,” Álvaro Fajardo, a physician in biological sciences and researcher at the Laboratory of Molecular Virology (LVM) at Uruguay’s Nuclear Research Center, told AFP . …