WHO is considering whether monkeypox constitutes an “international public health emergency”.

With the “worrying” spread of monkeypox being reported in nearly 40 countries, the WHO will convene a meeting next week to assess whether this virus poses a “public health emergency of international concern.”

• Also read: A contract for over 100,000 monkeypox vaccines

• Also read: Sex tourism during the Canadian Grand Prix: fears of the spread of monkeypox

• Also read: The number of monkeypox cases in the country could increase in the coming days

Less than a week after urging states to “control the outbreak,” World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Tuesday described the spread of the epidemic as “unusual and of concern.”

“The situation requires a coordinated response,” he said at a news conference, announcing the June 23 convening of the WHO Emergency Committee.

Since early May, more than 1,600 confirmed cases have been reported in 39 countries, including 32 where the disease is not endemic – and where no deaths have yet been recorded.

The virus normally circulates in Central and West Africa and is present in Europe, Australia, the Middle East, North and South America.

The WHO is counting on help from international experts to “better understand” monkeypox and is also considering “changing the name of the virus,” said Dr. Tedros and promised “announcements as soon as possible” in this regard.

But the priority remains “helping countries contain transmission and halt the epidemic” through “established” means such as “surveillance, contact tracing and isolation of infected patients,” he said.

vaccine race

The WHO also dampened growing enthusiasm for smallpox vaccines when the European Commission on Tuesday announced a deal with Danish laboratory Bavarian Nordic to supply more than 100,000 doses.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) had already signaled at the beginning of June that it was in contact with this manufacturer “as a precautionary measure”, but wished that they would submit an application for approval for their product against monkeypox “as soon as possible”.

The United States, which is betting on contact vaccination, has also purchased more than 300,000 doses of this serum to supplement its inventory of 100 million units of another French Sanofi vaccine.

But “mass” vaccinations are not recommended at this stage, the WHO said in preliminary guidance released on Tuesday, stressing that “any decision on whether or not to use vaccines should (…) be made on the basis of a benefit.” – risk assessment must be made on a case-by-case basis”.

dr But Tedros said it is “essential that vaccines are equitably available where they are needed,” and said his organization is working with its member states and partners to develop a mechanism for equitable access to vaccines and treatments.

An anti-smallpox drug, Tecovirimat, was approved by the EMA for monkeypox earlier this year but is not yet widely available.

The disease usually resolves spontaneously in two to three weeks with flu-like symptoms followed by a rash. But these clinical signs can be “mild” and difficult to identify, or even “misdiagnosed,” US authorities have warned.

Leave a Comment