To prevent smallpox in monkeys, we should learn from the response to COVID-19
USAChickenpox and COVID-19 are different in many ways. Although relatively rare, monkeypox has existed for decades; indeed, it has become endemic to regions of central and western Africa. Had one Vaccines can prevent infection and research shows that monkeypox is usually spread by close or prolonged contact with infected people or their bodily fluids — that is, based on what researchers now know, Smallpox probably won’t spread as widely or as quickly as SARS-CoV-2, which can travel invisible through the air.
However, there have been some cases of deja vu as cases of smallpox in monkeys have increased, reaching 780 in 27 disease-free countries according to the World Health Organization. Latest updates two days ago. Once again, a virus most people don’t know is spreading across the globe. Again, it occurred in people with no related travel history or contact with the sick person. And again, some experts say, public health authorities are missing an opportunity to block its path.
Smallpox testing in monkeys in the United States is currently being done through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), much like testing for COVID-19 at the start of the pandemic. Joseph Osmundson, assistant professor of clinical biology at New York University, who co-authored the recent book New York Times Opinion section on smallpox response in monkeys, said managers need to start preparing now, while cases are low, to be ready in case of change. That means clearing the way for hospitals and labs to do their own testing, instead of sending everything to the CDC.
And in the meantime, it’s important to educate the public about signs of monkeypox and encourage healthcare providers to submit any possible cases to CDC for testing, Osmundson said. “We really don’t know what the current scale is,” he said. “We know it’s more than we’re detecting, but we don’t know how much more.”
Dr. Boghuma Kabisen Titanji, an infectious disease physician at Emory University, recently told Atlantic that experts should not fall into a certain trap with monkeypox, speaking too confidently about an outbreak they are still learning a lot about. “If we have learned anything from COVID, it is to have humility,” she said.
Some early statements about COVID-19—that the mask won’t work, for example – is included in the misinformation that public health agencies are still trying to combat. This time, professionals must carefully document what they do and do not know, and it is clear that guidelines are subject to change. Osmundson has been encouraged that, with smallpox in monkeys, the CDC is primarily tasking gay, bisexual, or same-sex male professionals with the best way to communicate, because so far people from those communities have been disproportionately affected. That could be a lesson learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, which has highlighted the importance of tailoring the right message to the right audience, especially where vaccines are concerned.
The pandemic has also underpinned several other public health responses. Biden Administration claim nearly 90 billion dollars to pay for things like laboratory surveillance networks and development of testing and treatment infrastructure starting in fiscal year 2023. a June 2 interview with STATDr Raj Panjabi, who directs the White House’s global health security efforts, said his team is planning to scale up monkeypox testing and produce a vaccine if needed. not only in the US but also around the world.
The last part is very important. Of all the lessons COVID-19 has taught us, one of the biggest is that a threat to one part of the world is a threat to all. It is too early to say how large the monkeypox will be. But now is the time to act, Osmundson said. “The actions that don’t seem so bad are the ones that have the biggest impact,” he said.
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