Monkeypox’s unexpected arrival in multiple nations around the world is a worrying outbreak, according to the chairman of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, but the virus does not pose the same worldwide threat as Covid-19.
His remarks come as world health authorities look into the unusual spread of monkeypox, a rare viral illness that is usually restricted to rural portions of Central and West Africa.
“This is the first time that we have gathered again in Davos since the 2020 meeting and we find ourselves facing another dangerous disease threat,” CEPI CEO Richard Hatchett said in an interview to CNBC at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
“We should understand what that signifies, which is the world is beginning to move around again and infectious disease is beginning to move around with us,” Hatchett said.
“This is a concerning epidemic. Monkeypox is a very different disease than Covid,” he continued. “It does not spread through respiratory transmission in the same way, so it does not present the kind of global threat that many of us immediately recognized that Covid presented. But it does exemplify the risk that infectious diseases present in the modern world.”
Monkeypox is an uncommon disease caused by the monkeypox virus, which is related to smallpox but is usually milder. The first human case was reported in 1970, after it was discovered in captive monkeys in 1958.
Fever, headaches, muscular discomfort, swelling, and back pain are among the first symptoms of monkeypox. A rash appears one to three days after the onset of fever, usually starting on the face and spreading to other regions of the body such the palms of the hands and soles of the feet.
Some deaths have been reported in West Africa as a result of monkeypox cases that are more severe.
However, health officials emphasise that we are not on the verge of a major outbreak, and that the hazards to the general public are minimal.
The World Health Organization has stated that the virus can be contained in nations outside of Africa if the appropriate response is taken. In recent days, the United States, Australia, and Germany have verified their first cases of monkeypox.
According to the European Centre for Disease and Prevention Control, a total of 118 monkeypox cases had been documented across 12 European Union and European Economic Area nations as of Wednesday.
On Wednesday, seven more cases of monkeypox were discovered in England, with one instance discovered in Scotland.
This brings the overall number of cases in the United Kingdom to 78.
The coronavirus pandemic, on the other hand, was described by the United Nations as the greatest international threat since World War II. More than 527 million cases have been reported worldwide, resulting in approximately 6.28 million deaths.
“When we talk about 100 days, it’s 100 days from the decision to commence vaccine development to vaccines being accessible for use,” Hatchett said when questioned about CEPI’s collaborative objective to have vaccinations ready to use within 100 days of an epidemic or pandemic danger being identified.
“That means that we have to make significant investments in preparedness before the new disease emerges if we are going to be able to execute that fast.”
“I think monkeypox is a perfect illustration of the value of that strategy because we actually have vaccines against smallpox that were developed against a disease that doesn’t even exist that we know works against monkeypox,” Hatchett said.
“And we have anti-virals that were developed to protect against smallpox that will work against monkeypox. So, we have the tools that we need just as the epidemic has exploded,” he added.
(Adapted from CNBC.com)