What is monkeypox and what challenges does it pose to India? These two questions are answered in the articles by Nicola Davis and Charu Sudan Kasturi in The Guardian.
What is monkeypox and how worried should we be?
“Monkeypox is a viral infection typically found in central and western Africa.(…) According to the UK Health Security Agency, early symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes and chills, as well as other features such as exhaustion.”
“Monkeypox does not spread easily between humans, and requires close contact. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is thought that human-to-human transmission primarily occurs through large respiratory droplets.”
“The west African strain of monkeypox is generally a mild infection for most people, but it is important those infected and their contacts are identified. The virus is more of a concern among vulnerable people such as those with weakened immune systems or who are pregnant.”
India’s role is key in the scramble for jabs
“So far, only 12 monkeypox cases have been reported in the country, with one death. That’s a tiny fraction of the 61,000 known cases worldwide. Yet Covid has taught us that that could change. India’s vaccine preparedness matters not just for its population, but for the other developing nations dependent on its shots.”
““It doesn’t matter that India has only a few cases at the moment – the world needs India to step up when it comes to vaccine production,” says Ishwar Gilada, an infectious diseases specialist who set up India’s first Aids and HIV clinic in 1985.”
“Only one vaccine, for smallpox – Jynneos, produced by Danish firm Bavarian Nordic – has so far been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for use against monkeypox. Wealthy nations such as the US, UK and Australia, joined the queue for doses early but are already facing shortages. As with Covid, poorer countries risk falling far behind in accessing the vaccines. India is yet to order any.”
“India’s efforts to develop indigenous vaccines for monkeypox could help it limit its dependence on Jynneos eventually, but that, too, will take time. (…) For those traumatised by the unnecessary human losses of the Covid pandemic, the way India responds to monkeypox will be closely scrutinised.”
These articles were first published by Nicola Davis and Charu Sudan Kasturi in The Guardian.