“We must rethink our relationship with the animal”

– Morocco has recorded, to date, one confirmed case and another suspect of monkeypox as well as seven other suspected cases which turned out to be negative. Does MonkeyPox leave to rethink the link between man and animal?

– That’s the whole point. If the coming era is that of pandemics, more and more infections will become widespread and turn into pandemics. For 30 years, we have already seen an epidemic every 3 or 4 years, like H1N1, SAR 2003, etc. Studies have shown that between 1960 and 2004, 365 diseases emerged, of which 60% originated animal. To prevent possible new pandemics, we must rethink our relationship with animals and the environment in general. This is why we talk about planetary health. There is a common health between human beings, fauna and flora.

– What characterizes the transmissibility of viruses, including monkeypox, from animals to humans?

– There are several ways in which viruses can be transmitted. It should be emphasized that each animal and human species has its own viruses, which normally circulate between members of the same species. Sometimes viruses jump species to affect members of another species. When it comes to a disease of animal origin, it is called a zoonosis.

In humans, there are viruses that are transmitted directly from animals to humans, commonly called zoonotic transmission, and human-to-human transmission, which passes through sexual intercourse or blood in particular. For monkeypox, it is a transmission from an infected animal to humans. These animals are mainly found in central Africa and West Africa, in some tropical forests and wetlands. Either it is a transmission from man to man, which requires intimate contact, face to face for more than 2 hours, or to be in contact with the vesicles which come out of the skin of the sick person.

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– Monkeypox and Coronavirus, like many viruses, already exist. But, overnight, they resurface and spread rapidly. Don’t you think that people, or laboratories, are behind such propagations?

– This doesn’t happen overnight. Viruses have a long history of evolution and mutation before they spread. Now we are in a globalized world, where travel facilitates and accelerates this transmissibility. If a laboratory or a person is behind this propagation, we speak of bioterrorism. There may one day be an accidental leak of the viruses studied in laboratories. This is why safety criteria are increasingly stringent in laboratories. We must not blame conspiracies to hide our human failures

– Is the conspiracy theory possible?

– Conspiracy theories have existed before and will never end. They have always accompanied the history of humanity. The conditions most conducive to conspiracy theories are crises, whether economic, social, political, or even health… These theories explain in an irrational, illogical and unscientific way facts that have scientific origins and explanations. . Science is based on evidence and proof, not sentiment and conspiracy theories.

– You recently stated that there is no specific treatment for this virus, nor a vaccine. Are other vaccines and treatments effective?

– There is no vaccine or specific treatment for monkeypox. That is, there is no antiviral treatment or vaccine that has been studied, or clinical trials produced specifically for monkeypox.

For the simple reason that there were a few cases of monkeypox from small areas of the world where it is transmitted from animals to humans with very localized cases. There was no specific research on this virus. But we have vaccines that are made against human smallpox, which is a viral disease whose virus resembles monkeypox.

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Studies have shown that they are 85% effective against monkeypox. We currently have vaccines and antivirals that are effective against monkeypox, but which were intended to fight another disease. That’s why we said there is no specific treatment.

– In the event of an increase in the rate of transmissibility of this virus, what solutions are possible?

– For every problem there is a solution. Scientifically, there is no evidence that the monkeypox virus has mutated. Preliminary genetic studies, which are still in progress, or the epidemiological analysis of cases of infection have not shown any mutation of this virus. It is not expected that there will be more transmissibility. It is expected that there will be more cases related to human contact and travel. We will therefore remain on chains of transmission which will be controllable and a vaccination which will only contact contact persons at risk.