Suddenly, everyone is talking about Monkeypox, the smallpox-like disease that has surfaced in recent days in both Europe and the United States.
Health authorities in the two continents have thus far identified only a few dozen cases. And while there’s no reason for concern at the moment, here’s what convinced me to put this on your radar. The U.S. government decided to order millions of doses of monkeypox vaccine. According to the Telegraph, the World Health Organization has convened an emergency meeting.
According to a press release from European pharma company Bavarian Nordic, the United States exercised a $119 million option on the doses. The vaccines were purchased through the The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA). The U.S. government has an additional $180 million in options if it so chooses to exercise them.
Additionally, on Thursday, Bavarian Nordic announced that they were going to supply “an undisclosed European country” with Monkeypox vaccinations.
The U.S. likely has first dibs on the product because the vaccine was developed with American support. Anthony Fauci’s NIAID has supported Bavarian Nordic with well over $100 million in grants. Whether Fauci and his colleagues will receive kickbacks and royalties for this vaccine remains unknown.
Bavarian Nordic received FDA approval for its vaccine in September of 2019, just two months before the commencement of COVID Mania.
The FDA statement included the possibility that this vaccine was necessary for the market in case of a biowarfare event concerning the “intentional release” of smallpox.
Bavarian Nordic’s president and CEO released a statement Thursday:
“While the full circumstances around the current monkeypox cases in Europe remain to be elucidated, the speed of which these have evolved, combined with the potential for infections beyond the initial case going undetected, calls for a rapid and coordinated approach by the health authorities, and we are pleased to assist in this emergency situation. Infection control has been a high priority for societies during COVID-19, and this situation is an unfortunate reminder that we cannot let our guard down, but must continue to build and strengthen our infectious disease preparedness to keep the world open.”
According to the CDC:
“Monkeypox was first discovered in 1958 when two outbreaks of a pox-like disease occurred in colonies of monkeys kept for research, hence the name ‘monkeypox.’ The first human case of monkeypox was recorded in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo during a period of intensified effort to eliminate smallpox. Since then monkeypox has been reported in humans in other central and western African countries.”
Monkeypox is currently understood as a rare infection primarily spread by wild animals in West Africa. Its symptoms are said to be similar to that of chickenpox. Case fatality rate estimates for human obtained monkeypox in Africa range from 1% to 15%.
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