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Monkeypox Outbreak: Researchers In 2021 Conducted Table-Top Simulation Which Predicted Exact Date Of Outbreak

As more nations report monkeypox cases, some are wondering how an endemic disease from west and central Africa is spreading at a fast pace in the west (Image: Shutterstock)

As more nations report monkeypox cases, some are wondering how an endemic disease from west and central Africa is spreading at a fast pace in the west (Image: Shutterstock)

The monkeypox outbreak has again led to debates regarding transparency in the scientific community and - conspiracy theories that claim that establishment and institutions could be behind global events like Covid pandemic

As soon as monkeypox cases rose across the western hemisphere, conspiracy theories as well controversies took over the internet with some suggesting that the monkeypox virus could have similar controversial backstory like the lab leak theory of Covid-19.

Brownstone Institute, a website that publishes political, scientific and cultural views across the political spectrum, published an article by US-based attorney Michael Senger who questioned how monkeypox is spreading at a faster pace, a year after Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), a non-profit organization, created hypothetical scenario for an outbreak of monkeypox which killed millions.

Senger’s article raises questions but fails to answer them. In his piece he leaves much to the reader’s imagination and quotes other researchers, journalists and other experts who have questioned the sudden virulence of the monkeypox disease which did not affect many outside western Africa – where it was first detected in the 1950s.

What is striking is that the date predicted by the NTI was mid-May 2022. The NTI was conducting a ‘fictional exercise scenario’ where ‘a deadly, global pandemic involving an unusual strain of monkeypox virus’ starts spreading from the fictional nation Brinia and over 18 months it causes three billion cases and 270 million fatalities worldwide.

However, the NTI in its simulation also placed the cause of the spread on a ‘terrorist attack using a pathogen engineered in a laboratory’ – the evidence for which is yet to be found.

The NTI simulation has also led to speculations in China that the US deliberately leaked the virus. Speculations that the US engaged in bioterrorism is rife all over China’s Twitter-like Weibo.

Though there is less evidence to support that fact, Senger in his article refers to the  Event 201, a simulation of a coronavirus pandemic, which was undertaken in October 2019, two months before the first cases were reported.

It is still unclear if like Covid and the lab leak theory surrounding it (where the coincidences are turning out to be too coincidental), monkeypox also will in future be surrounded by this cloak of mystery. Still then, monkeypox poses a grave threat to healthcare systems across the world as they are still reeling from the effects of Covid-19.

University of Washington professor Carl T. Bergstrom shot back at the report with a tweet where he cited a report where the US government made some predictions regarding the volcanic eruption of Mt. St. Helens and brushed assumptions made by Brownstone Institute.

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first published:May 24, 2022, 15:39 IST