Serial pandemics have arrived. Next on the fear agenda: monkeypox.

Story at-a-glance

  • By the third week of July 2022, some 16,000 cases of monkeypox had been recorded across 75 countries, with the vast majority of cases occurring among homosexual and bisexual men. In the U.S., recorded cases were around 3,000, including two children
  • July 23, 2022, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus unilaterally overruled this panel of advisers and declared monkeypox a “public health emergency of international concern” (PHEIC). Ghebreyesus made the decision to declare a PHEIC even though the WHO’s advisory panel opposed the declaration 9 to 6
  • According to Ghebreyesus, “for the moment this is an outbreak that is concentrated among men who have sex with men, especially those with multiple sexual partners. That means that this is an outbreak that can be stopped with the right strategies in the right groups”
  • At present, the PHEIC appears to be financially motivated. Moderna is testing an mRNA injection for monkeypox, and in addition to the two smallpox vaccines already approved, Aventis Pasteur also has a smallpox vaccine that, while still investigational, could receive emergency use authorization
  • Disturbingly, in February 2022, the Wuhan Institute of Virology published a study in which they describe creating a portion of a monkeypox genome from scratch in order to develop a PCR test for monkeypox diagnosis. The National Institutes for Health in the U.S. also began studying a monkeypox drug in 2020

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