US declares monkeypox a public health emergency

On August 4, the federal government of the United States declared monkeypox — with more than 6,600 cases in the country—A public health emergency. Monkeypox is now the second concurrent public health emergency in the United States; The rest is COVID-19.

The state of emergency gives Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra more discretion in accessing additional funding and resources for the outbreak, including personnel to combat it. . That could lead to increased testing as well as more vaccine doses. Several states — including New York, which now has about a quarter of the cases in the United States — have declared states of emergency to free up state funds to help control the outbreak.

“We are prepared to take our response to the next level in tackling this virus, and we urge every American to take monkeypox seriously and responsibly,” Becerra said. help us deal with this virus,” Becerra said at the press conference announcing the statement.

Perhaps the most important need, says Becerra, is to educate more doctors and health professionals on how to recognize smallpox in monkeys and thus test more people. Director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, who also attended the briefing, said the US is currently using only about 10% of its available testing capacity; In recent weeks, on average, only about 8,000 tests for monkeypox have been performed each week. Reach more health providers and provide information about when and how smallpox test in monkeys can increase testing and improve access to vaccines or treatments.

Read more: What does monkeypox really feel like

U.S. health authorities advise people at high risk of monkeypox — including healthcare workers and men who have sex with men, with whom the virus has spread fastest during the outbreak. this outbreak — get vaccinated as soon as possible with one of the two vaccines are available, ACAM2000 or Jynneos. Both have been released from the Strategic National Stockpile, the nation’s stockpile of supplies for medical emergencies. About 1.6 million people in the US are considered at high risk for monkeypox, according to Walensky, and the stockpile contains 1.7 million doses of the vaccine. Becerra said the government ordered additional 2.5 million doses Jynneos vaccine manufacturer, Bavarian Nordic.

Dr. Robert Califf, commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, said the agency is reviewing the data to expand the available dosages until more doses are available through a practice known as “dosage savings”. That involves injecting the monkeypox vaccine into the outermost layers of skin rather than deep into the muscle. This could speed up circulation and delivery of the vaccine to stimulate the immune system, says Califf, and thus require only one-fifth of the current vaccine dose. (Rabies vaccine is currently being given this way.) That would expand the number of doses available, and so far the strategy looks “promising,” he said. But scientists are still studying whether using this intradermal injection maintains the vaccine’s potency and provides the same protection as the original dose.

The public health emergency indication could also increase access to an antiviral drug called TPOXX, which is approved to treat smallpox but may also be effective for smallpox. monkey season because these two viruses belong to the same family. Currently, drug purchases require physicians to register to dispense the drug and patients to sign informed consent forms, as the pill treatment is not approved for the treatment of smallpox. season in monkeys and is therefore under investigation. In the event of a public health emergency, Becerra may decide to issue an emergency use license to TPOXX, which will eliminate that paperwork and allow any physician and pharmacy to drug storage. Such steps have yet to be taken, as Becerra, Califf and Walensky note that the drug must first be shown to be safe and effective. Studies exploring how effective TPOXX is for monkeypox patients are planned and could be out soon.

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