Vaccines, treatments and tests for monkeypox are not available in most of the world

Dr Boghuma Titanji, an associate professor of medicine at Emory University, who responded to a 2018 outbreak of monkeypox in her native Cameroon.

Most of the people who died of smallpox in monkeys were Africans. There are two different strains of the disease, a more lethal strain circulating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and neighboring countries, and a less virulent version in West Africa, currently seen in low-income countries. high input. Although deaths from monkeypox are rare, the risk of death is highest in children and pregnant women, and the disease causes extreme pain to anyone infected.

The rapid spread of the disease to high-income countries, which began four months ago, has sparked a scramble for a vaccine. Although there is no vaccine specifically for monkeypox, data from trials with non-human primates suggest that vaccines against smallpox virus are closely related. can also prevent transmission of this virus. The focus is on the Jynneos smallpox vaccine, made by the Danish company Bavarian-Nordic, which is the easiest to use of the smallpox vaccines and has the lowest number of side effects.

Bavarian-Nordic has about 16 million doses of vaccines, most of which are owned or contracted with the United States, contributed more than $1 billion to vaccine development as a defense strategy after 9/11 when officials feared the tiny peas could be used as a biological weapon. Those US doses are seen as a defense stockpile and are in bulk drug form, not bottled vaccine, which has slowed distribution. The remaining 1 million were quickly purchased by Canada, Australia and European countries starting in May.

To date, no doses have been purchased or ordered for African countries. A clinical trial of the Jynneos vaccine led by the National Institutes of Health is starting in Congo, but that country does not have the vaccine available for healthcare workers or those in contact with people who are sick. .

James Krellenstein, a founder of PrEP4All, an advocacy group for drug access. “This is the single most important step anyone can take to help bring this outbreak under control globally.”

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