About three months after the Ministry of Health declared the end of the Public Health Emergency of National Importance caused by Covid-19, Brazil confirmed the first case of monkeypox (monkeypox) in São Paulo.
Since then, The number of patients diagnosed with the disease continues to grow. This growth, even without a direct relationship with the coronavirus, began to be commented on on social media and motivated some speculation, such as that the monkeypox virus could be linked to vaccines being applied against Covid-19.
It is worth mentioning that, despite being the first time that monkeypox has arrived in Brazil, this is not the first recorded outbreak of the disease. The monkeypox virus was already considered endemic in some African countries.
According to the WHO (World Health Organization), Nigeria, for example, has recorded more than 500 suspected and 200 confirmed cases of the disease since 2017.
The virus got its name because it was first found in monkeys in 1958. The first case of human infection occurred only in 1970, in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“Monkeypox has nothing to do with vaccines for one simple reason, since its discovery, when the first human cases took place, the number of cases is increasing every decade. Then, this virus is old“, says the infectologist at the Alemão Oswaldo Cruz hospital, Stefan Cunha.
The novelty of the current outbreak is the large number of infections, which, according to the WHO, already total more than 36 thousand in 89 countries, in addition to the new characteristics of the symptoms. This situation is different from the coronavirus pandemic, which was triggered by an entirely new mutation.
“The Covid-19 coronavirus is a coronavirus that the bat harbored, as it harbors several coronaviruses, and it has mutated and had the ability to reach humans and transmit from humans to humans, so it is a new virus,” explains Cunha. .
Covid vaccines didn’t ‘create’ monkeypox
The spread of Covid-19 required the immediate creation of vaccines with different technologies, including Pfizer, which uses messenger RNA, and CoronaVac, which is based on the inactivated virus.
AstraZeneca, in turn, chose to build the vaccine based on the adenovirus and was developed by modifying the virus that causes a cold in chimpanzees – information that is being erroneously linked to monkeypox.
However, the AstraZeneca vaccine has nothing to do with primates that were thought to be the first recipients of monkeypox, not least because the main candidates for a monkeypox reservoir are rodents, such as squirrels, from the forests of Africa.
In addition, the adenovirus was genetically modified so that it cannot reproduce in the human body, its function is only to carry genetic instructions to the vaccinated’s cells, so that it can produce its own immune response against the coronavirus.
Like other viral vector vaccines, used, for example, in the Ebola outbreaks in West Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the AstraZeneca adenovirus is unable to contaminate the vaccinated person’s body.
In addition, the quality and biosafety of the current laboratories were evaluated by regulatory bodies, such as Anvisa (National Health Surveillance Agency) and EMA (European Medicines Agency), which verified that contamination through of vaccines approved for use.
“When a vaccine is made today, we have complete safety in terms of contamination and elimination of any component that is contaminating [o imunizante]. Then, the appearance of monkeypox has absolutely nothing to do with the Covid vaccine”, says Cunha.
* Intern at R7 under the supervision of Hysabella Conrado.
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