Debunked: Did WHO Just Announce A New Pandemic Virus - Marburg?

Did WHO Just Announce A New Pandemic Virus - Marburg? A viral video of several versions circulating in social media about a new pandemic - the Marburg virus.

Take a look at one of the versions of the viral video.


Here's the transcript of Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO Director-General. 

"The Ministry of Health of Guinea informed WHO of a case of Marburg virus disease in the country’s south-west [region], a man who died eight days after onset of symptoms.

This is the first known case of Marburg in West Africa.

"WHO and our partners are supporting Guinea’s Ministry of Health to investigate the source of the outbreak, trace contacts and inform the local community about how to protect themselves.

About 150 contacts have been identified and are being followed up, including 3 family members and a health worker who have been identified as high-risk close contacts.

Marburg is a very different virus from the one that causes COVID-19, but many of the elements of the response are the same – isolating and caring for those infected, tracing and quarantining their contacts and engaging local communities in the response.

There is no licensed vaccine for Marburg, although there are vaccines under development. And WHO is working with our partners to seek opportunities to assist them during this outbreak through the R&D blueprint for epidemics."

Anti-vaxxers are using this Marburg virus to claim that the Covid-19 vaccination is pointless. 

We are here to learn more about this Marburg virus and the STORY behind the video.

Fact #1: Marburg Virus is not a new virus

Marburg virus was first discovered in 1967 in Marburg, Germany - hence the name - the Marburg virus. Two large outbreaks co-occurred in Frankfurt, Germany and Belgrade, Serbia.

The outbreak was associated with laboratory work using African green monkeys (Cercopithecus aethiops) imported from Uganda.

Thirty-one people were infected, and seven of them died.

In 2008, two independent cases were reported in travellers who visited a cave inhabited by Rousettus bat colonies in Uganda. 

In 2017, Uganda ended another Marburg virus outbreak with 3 deaths, and 316 close contacts were quarantined.

Fact #2: Marburg Virus is similar to the Ebola virus

Marburg virus disease is a highly virulent disease that causes haemorrhagic fever, with an up to 88% fatality ratio. It is in the same family as the virus that causes Ebola.

Fact #3: The WHO video was from 9 August 2021

The press conference video was from 9 August 2021, approximately five months from the date of reporting. So, it is not a new video.

Fact #4: Marburg Outbreak ended by September 2021

The Ministry of Health of Guinea informed WHO of one confirmed case of Marburg disease virus (MVD) in southwestern Guinea on 6 August 2021. 

The Ministry of Health of Guinea declared the outbreak's end on 16 September 2021, 42 days later.

Fact #5: Only one person died from the Marburg outbreak in Guinea

173 contacts were identified and quarantined. None of them developed any symptoms. Only the case zero patient passed away from the Marburg virus.

Fact #6: Marburg virus has a low pandemic virus

Marburg virus is primarily transmitted through direct contact with the blood or bodily fluids of an infected person or animal. 

Fact #7: Marburg virus is very different compared to the Covid-19 virus

Marburg virus as mentioned in the earlier Fact #6. The Covid-19 virus is airborne, while the Marburg virus is transmitted via bodily fluid, thus lowering the transmissibility. 

Fact #8: Marburg vaccine has been under development for years

Marburg virus vaccine candidates are being investigated, and in 2019, for example, IAVI (the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative) began researching a recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) vector Marburg virus vaccine candidate, called rVSVΔG-MARV-GP.

Another vaccine candidate MVA-BN Filo, containing both Marburg and Ebola virus antigens, could potentially protect against both haemorrhagic viruses. It is currently in phase 3 trials and seems to trigger good immunity against the Ebola Zaire strain, but it has not yet been tested against the Marburg virus.



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