There have been claims shared on social media that monkeypox is linked to some Covid-19 vaccines, particularly the AstraZeneca vaccine, which contains attenuated adenoviruses from chimpanzees.
Chimpanzees are carriers of the DNA of the coronavirus spike protein.
This has led some to believe monkeypox infections are a result of such vaccines.
Monkeypox is a viral zoonosis (a virus transmitted to humans from animals) with symptoms similar to those seen in smallpox patients in the past, although it is clinically less severe.
However, researchers say monkeypox has nothing to do with the Covid-19 vaccine nor with monkeys or the coronavirus itself.
President of the German Society for Immunology, Christine Falk, was quoted saying monkeypox was named so as it was first detected in a monkey colony in 1958.
“But they actually come from rodents; monkeys are probably an intermediate host,” she said.
Falk explained that adenoviruses, including chimpanzee adenoviruses, which are the basis for vector vaccines, are a very different class of viruses than smallpox viruses, with very different characteristics.
These viruses, said Falk, can cause cold-like infections while there are some that have been isolated and modified from chimpanzees for use in vaccines.
“So that our bodies don’t have prior immunity, as can be the case with human adenoviruses,” she said, stressing that Covid-19 vaccines have nothing to do with the monkeypox outbreak.
So far, monkeypox has been detected in 42 countries and Zimbabwe has not recorded any cases yet.
South Africa has recorded its second case of monkeypox in a 32-year-old male patient from Cape Town with no travel history.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) said as of 22 June 2022, 3 413 laboratory-confirmed cases and one death have been reported in five regions.
Monkeypox symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, and a rash that can look like pimples or blisters.
The disease is known to spread when there is close physical contact with an infected person, their clothing or bedsheets.