The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday said that nearly 200 cases of monkeypox had been reported in more than 20 countries not usually known to have outbreaks of the unusual disease. The United Nations agency described the epidemic as “containable” and proposed creating a stockpile to equitably share the limited vaccines and drugs available worldwide, a report from the Associated Press explains.
"We think that if we put in place the right measures now we probably can contain this easily," Sylvie Briand, WHO director for Global Infectious Hazard Preparedness, told the U.N. agency's annual assembly.
According to Reuters health bulletin, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Friday published recommendations by its group of independent experts on a smallpox vaccine that limit its use to only people who work closely with viruses such as monkeypox. The Jynneos vaccine, made by Bavarian Nordic, will be available for certain healthcare workers and laboratory personnel at a time when monkeypox infections has spread in Europe, United States and beyond.
Officials said there were over 100 million doses of an older smallpox vaccine called ACAM2000, made by Emergent BioSolutions , which has significant side effects, a Reuters copy adds.
Global health authorities are concerned since the recent outbreaks reported so far are atypical, as they are occurring in countries where the virus does not regularly circulate. Scientists are seeking to understand the origin of the current cases and whether anything about the virus has changed, an earlier Reuters copy explained.
Further, Argentina confirmed the first two cases of monkeypox in Latin America on Friday, the ministry of health said in statements. Spain, England and Portugal are the countries with the most cases in the recent outbreak of this usually mild viral disease outside their endemic areas, normally found in parts of West and Central Africa.
The outbreak, unsurprisingly, has also led to the spread of further misinformation about monkeypox and covid-19 vaccines. On Friday, May 27, The Associated Press reported on stories circulating online incorrectly claiming the chimpanzee adenovirus vector used in AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine is causing the monkeypox outbreak.
Adenoviruses and poxviruses are unrelated, and monkeys and chimpanzees are different species. While the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine uses a harmless, weakened chimp adenovirus to trigger an immune response, the strain has been altered so it cannot infect humans, nor could it cause monkeypox, an AP report explains.
(With inputs from Reuters and AP)