The World Health Organization declares monkeypox an international medical emergency

The designation does not compel new action by countries to tackle the virus, but it does sound the alarm to address the threat of epidemics — even as Covid-19 and polio remain active international public health emergencies.

According to the World Health Organization, the risk of monkeypox globally is moderate, except for the European region, where we assess the risk as high,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in his statement. “With the tools we have now, we can stop transmission and control this disease.”

The World Health Organization called a meeting a month ago to determine whether monkeypox was a PHEIC, but then decided it was not, even though some advisers disagreed with the call. At the time, there were approximately 3,300 cases globally, with 150 in the US

There are now more than 16,800 cases worldwide, with about 2,900 in the US.

Still, many questions remain unanswered, including why so many new infections are being reported in countries where the virus has not been endemic. These cases have already led to increased demand for vaccines and therapeutics that can be used to stop the spread and treat those already infected.

The WHO’s decision comes despite its emergency committee failing to reach a consensus on whether the virus constitutes an international health emergency. But the declaration brings new international urgency, in addition to already hasty efforts to get supplies to try the cases.

“We’re in a kind of paradoxical situation with the monkey flower,” Piero Ogliaro, a researcher at the University of Oxford who advises WHO members on monkey research priorities, told POLITICO in an email Wednesday. “On the one hand, our knowledge of the clinical manifestations and outcomes of monkeypox in the Western world is improving, and we potentially have one or more treatments and vaccines, but on the other hand, we still have little evidence to support which intervention to take.” used and how to break chains of transmission and how to effectively manage cases”.

The fight for vaccines and therapeutics

Also unlike Covid-19, vaccines and therapeutics that can be used to treat monkeypox already exist – although many are approved for chickenpox and face regulatory hurdles to full approval.

Jynneos, a third-generation smallpox vaccine that is also approved for monkeypox in some countries, has so far been considered the best choice to control outbreaks, despite relatively small doses being available globally. The United States has shipped more than 300,000 doses of the vaccine, with millions more on the way to fill shortages in states and cities. Countries have followed suit, with European countries ordering more than a million doses earlier this month.

In its original guidance, the WHO included two other vaccine options for potential use in monkeypox patients. Another third-generation vaccine is currently available only in Japan, although the WHO is in talks with the country to expand access, Rosamund Lewis, the WHO’s technical chief for monkeypox, told POLITICO in an earlier interview.

The third vaccine on the list – ACAM2000 – is available in much larger quantities. The US keeps about 100 million doses of the second-generation vaccine in its reserves, although it is not officially approved for monkeypox in the US, except as an investigational new drug.

And the scramble for resources extends beyond vaccines to antivirals. Tecovirimat, an orthopox antiviral that holds promise for treating monkeys, is available in relatively small quantities worldwide. Siga, the small company that makes Tecovirimat, is talking to dozens of countries about ordering the drug – and is trying to increase its production capacity.

beyond the declaration

A public health emergency of international concern over monkeypox is unlikely to change what countries are doing to control the virus. Orders for vaccines and therapeutics, along with expanded testing and public notices, will continue.

Before Saturday’s announcement, U.S. officials Discuss how to improve their answerAmong them, declaring a national public health emergency and investigating ways to better distribute limited doses to the general population.

Global health equity has been critical of the early response to monkeypox — as it was during the pandemic — with few endemic countries having access to countermeasures that are now more widely used.

The World Health Organization declares monkeypox an international medical emergency

Source link The World Health Organization declares monkeypox an international medical emergency

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