As discussions of monkeypox intensify, there are swirling questions about the potential cause of the outbreak across Europe, North America, and Australia.
One piece of information floating around is the AstraZeneca COVID-19 injection and its usage of a chimpanzee adenovirus vector.
Could the mass rollout of this experimental shot potentially cause a mutation of this chimpanzee adenovirus?
“AstraZeneca and its partners have released for supply two billion doses of their COVID-19 vaccine to more than 170 countries across every continent on the planet in the last 11 months,” the pharmaceutical company stated.
Did AstraZeneca use a chimpanzee-based adenovirus vector for its COVID shot?
Let’s find out!
— DM 🌸🌸 (@naturestudyd) May 20, 2022
— Right Said Fred (@TheFreds) May 20, 2022
— Razorback1111 (@razorback11111) May 20, 2022
The AstraZeneca vaccine uses a chimpanzee adenovirus vaccine vector. This is a harmless, weakened adenovirus that usually causes the common cold in chimpanzees.
The adenovirus vaccine vector, known as ChAdOx1, was chosen as a suitable vaccine technology for a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine as it has been shown to generate a strong immune response from one dose in other vaccines.
It has been genetically changed so that it is impossible for it to grow in humans.
Chimpanzee adenoviral vectors are a very well-studied vaccine type, having been used safely in thousands of subjects.
ARS Technica stated:
Adenoviruses are a large family of very common viruses that cause a range of infections in humans, from mild colds and flu-like illnesses to pink eye, pneumonia, and gastroenteritis. Beyond humans, they can infect a range of animals, including pigs, cows, and chimpanzees. Researchers have been working with adenoviruses for decades. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine uses the adenovirus (Ad26), which was first identified in 1961 from anal swabs of children in Washington, DC. The AstraZeneca vaccine is based on an adenovirus that circulates in chimpanzees (ChAdOx1).
Over the years, researchers have considered adenoviruses useful delivery systems for vaccines and gene therapies. For starters, they’re easy to brew up in big batches in laboratory conditions. When engineered for vaccines, they can provoke potent immune responses in people against germs we want to fight. And they appeared relatively safe in humans, particularly since they’re often modified so they can’t replicate in our cells.
But adenoviruses have had a troubled past. Researchers all but abandoned their use in gene therapies in 1999 following the tragic death of 18-year-old Jesse Gelsinger. A team of researchers at the University of Pennsylvania had hoped to cure the teenager’s rare metabolic liver disease by correcting an underlying genetic mutation with new code—delivered in trillions of adenovirus vectors. The researchers used human adenovirus 5 (Ad5), which typically causes only a mild cold. In early tests, the therapy triggered only mild side effects and flu-like symptoms in animals and a human patient, The New York Times reported at the time. But in Gelsinger, the massive dose of virus vectors triggered a fatal immune response.
Researchers carried on with adenoviruses for vaccine development, where potent immune responses can be a plus instead of a peril. Programmed to be vaccine vectors, adenoviruses deliver key snippets of genetic code from dangerous viruses, bacteria, or parasites directly to human cells. From there, our cells translate the genetic code into protein, recognize it as foreign, and use it to train our immune systems to seek and destroy anything carrying the same protein. In the case of COVID-19, adenovirus-based vaccines carry the genetic code for the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, which is the thorny protein that juts from the virus’s particle. The spike protein is what SARS-CoV-2 uses to enter human cells, and it’s a key target for potent antibodies and other immune responses.
Is this related to the monkeypox outbreak?
Honestly, I’m not sure and it’s too early to say.
But it’s worth an investigation by independent, uncorrupted researchers.