Health experts are now warning of an impending outbreak of the Monkeypox virus. WHO is questioning the existence of the virus in countries where the virus is not endemic, terming it as very unusual. Conspiracy theorists are now linking the virus to the mass vaccination of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which contains the chimpanzee adenovirus. However, research shows that this conversation is not necessarily a conspiracy, for many have studied the effect of experimental vaccines on human beings.
Records show that by 1961, many scientists worried about the possible danger to humans of monkey viruses in polio vaccines, which are usually manufactured using monkey kidneys. It is during this period that the polio vaccine was administered from 1957 to 1960 to at least 325,000 people in Rwanda, Burundi, and the former Belgian Congo. This is also precisely the region where the AIDS epidemic rages most fiercely and from which many experts believe it spread.
In the early 1980s, researchers discovered that many monkeys were infected with a retrovirus related to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the one that caused AIDS in humans. The simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), could have been present in any vaccine made from the tissues of these monkeys before 1985, the year when advanced testing was done.
With Science accepting the possibility that HIV is a variant of a virus found in monkeys and chimpanzees, it is evident that viral vectors like the one used in the AstraZeneca vaccine, have harmful potential and fuels a great debate and doubt over gene therapy.
So could the so-called conspiracy theories about the resurgence of monkeypox be a looming reality? Experts in genetic sequencing-the study of tracing a virus origin and development-agree at least the timing is right. In Science, they say, nothing is 100%.
In Chimamanda's, The Danger of a Single Story, Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice -- and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding and that these stories can also have a malicious intent to suppress other groups of people due to prejudice.
Africa has always been portrayed as the incubation center for viruses and diseases. Well, agreeably, these diseases indeed are traced to monkeys, rodents, etc, of which Africa hosts a variety of such animals, whom we live with gracefully. But how these viruses get into humans, remains the greatest concern. Could it be as a result of experimental vaccines, administered, genuinely or maliciously, to Africans as guinea pigs? Was the mandatory covid 19 vaccine necessary for Africa? Did Africa do proper background research on the safety of the Covid 19 vaccines?
Africa seems to still be treated to a cycle of a false dilemma fallacy and following it blindly. The fact is, just because someone in a position of power says something is true, doesn't make it true. A good example of such beliefs is when we hear every day someone chanting that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, not knowing that that statement was only a marketing strategy for Kellog's breakfast cereals. The Danger of a Single Story!
So should Africans be worried about the monkeypox virus? Well, no. Not the virus itself, but rather the impending reintroduction of the smallpox vaccine, which has been used in the past to eradicate smallpox in the 1980s. With the US now considering its reintroduction, as Africans, we must maintain an open approach in matters of vaccines. Vaccines must not be mandatory.
Fact check; After the eradication of the smallpox virus, the only samples known to be available are in research laboratories in Atlanta, Georgia, and Russia. (Whatever you do with that information is entirely up to you).
We must also face the reality that these viruses do exist, but as at now, Monkeypox is not in Africa. The European countries used African pictures, etc, of the disease, is to simply send a coded message of fear to Africans. We must wake up and protect our continent by all means from this Western chaos.
They said HIV will wipe away the African species, Ebola, and that we will collect bodies on the streets due to Covid 19, but guess what, we are all here alive and kicking. To avoid being caught in this chaos, Africa must develop a proactive approach to mitigating these looming pandemics as early as yesterday. Let us not wait for the virus to be exported to our continent. We can scream at the darkness or choose to light a candle.
Remain African. Protect Africa, or else it shall be another case of MONKEY SEE, MONKEY DO, MONKEY POX.