The rise in monkeypox cases has prompted a flurry of social media posts, with many saying that the chimpanzee adenovirus vector used in AstraZeneca’s Covid vaccination is to blame, and others stating that the infection is only shingles and a “well-known” adverse effect of the vaccine.
Both assertions, according to experts contacted by PTI, are untrue. They have sparked heated debate on Twitter, with many posts and hundreds of retweets. Adenoviruses are not linked to poxviruses, and shingles is not the same as monkeypox.
While the AstraZeneca vaccine does contain a chimp adenovirus vector, the virus has been modified to prevent it from growing in human cells. The vector’s job is to transport the vaccine component into human cells, but it does not cause infection, according to experts.
“While both adenovirus and monkeypox are DNA viruses, one cannot cause the other,” said Vineeta Bal from Pune’s Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research.
A DNA virus is one in which the genetic material is DNA rather than RNA – for instance, adenoviruses, herpes viruses, poxviruses.
“Even for conspiracy theories that is ridiculous. It is tantamount to saying that since we are all frequently infected with human adenoviruses, we are at risk from smallpox,” added Satyajit Rath, visiting faculty at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune.
Monkeypox outbreaks have caused concern in a number of nations throughout the world since the viral illness, which spreads by intimate contact and was initially discovered in monkeys, is usually found in west and central Africa and only travels extremely rarely abroad.
Misinformation and bogus stories about the disease have circulated on the internet, as they have in previous epidemics.
“Who is surprised that after millions of people have been injected with genetically modified chimp virus, there is now an outbreak of monkeypox?” asked a Twitter user. The post had over 6,000 likes and over 2,000 retweets.
“So after 2yrs, the rise in (monkeypox) cases is ‘puzzling scientists’. So none of these ‘experienced scientists’ even thought that by using a chimpanzee adenovirus in a brand new vaccine that already has over 1500 side effects, that it may cause a few other issues down the line??” wrote another user with hundreds of likes and retweets for the post.
Users on Twitter and Facebook repeated the notion, noting a list of chemicals in the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, also known as Covishield in India, which is the most extensively used preventative in the nation.
The allegation that monkeypox is essentially shingles, which is a side effect of the COVID-19 vaccinations, was also refuted by scientists.
Shingles is a painful rash caused by a viral infection. The varicella zoster virus, which also causes chickenpox, is to blame.
Unlike monkeypox, which is a member of the poxviruses, varicella zoster is a member of the herpes virus family, and the rashes caused by the two viruses appear on the skin in distinct ways.
The variola virus, a member of the orthopoxvirus family, causes smallpox, which is an acute infectious illness.
Although monkeypox is caused by a virus that is related to smallpox, it is significantly less serious than smallpox, despite the fact that it creates a similar sickness with flu-like symptoms and a rash with lesions.
“Monkey pox = shingles. Shingles is a well-known side effect of the jab. You are being played. This narrative will not hold,” wrote a Twitter user with thousands of likes and retweets.
Another Twitter user asked, “Is Monkeypox really shingles from the jab?” The post had nearly 10,000 likes.
According to experts, shingles and monkeypox are two separate illnesses caused by viruses from distinct families that are unlikely to be confused based on laboratory testing or physical symptoms.
“To the best of my knowledge there are no ‘side effects’ of any of the covid vaccines which look like shingles as in eruptions of shingles or pain and tingling along the nerves, suggestive of shingles,” Ms. Bal explained.
“Distribution of pox in monkeypox, as far as I know, is not along nerve roots,” she added. Mr. Rath noted that there is no such evidence to link the two diseases. “Immunologically, I see no reason at all to expect such an outcome in any fashion. And shingles do not look like monkeypox, either, to a clinician,” the immunologist further said.
Both statements – that AstraZeneca’s Covid vaccination is to blame for the monkeypox epidemic and that monkeypox is just shingles and a side effect of the Covid vaccine – are ‘wrong.’
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