Health

Can Monkeypox spread be contained before it turns into COVID-like catastrophe?

With over 27,000 cases detected across 88 countries, Monkeypox is becoming a cause of concern worldwide. Last month the World Health Organsition (WHO) has declared this is a global emergency. Now many are speculative about certain facts such as its nature of transmission, whether it is a sexual disease, how infectious the virus is, and also whether its spread can be contained or, it can create a catastrophe like COVID. Here is all you need to know:

Is monkeypox as infectious as Covid?

Monkeypox is not an unstoppable force and, it does not spread as fast as COVID. 

Unlike coronavirus, the monkeypox does not spread as easily. It spread through extremely close physical contacts like infected skin, prolonged face-to-face contact or contaminated surfaces like a bedsheet or a towel.

Is monkeypox a sexually transmitted disease?

The monkeypox virus is not categorised as a sexually transmitted infection. But, currently, it is mostly spreading among the men who have sex with other men. 

The reason is obvious. Sex is full of all the intimate skin-on-skin contact that the virus uses to spread.

Can the spread of the monkeypox virus be stopped? 

In the past also, monkeypox virus outbreaks could be contained. In fact, we have managed to eradicate its close cousin smallpox completely. 

“Monkeypox is easier as it is less transmissible than smallpox so we’re in a much better position,” said Prof Jonathan Ball, a virologist at the University of Nottingham, as reported by BBC

How the spread of the virus can be contained?

Responding to it, Prof Paul Hunter, from the University of East Anglia, told BBC, “The easiest way to prevent it is to close down all highly active sexual networks for a couple of months until it goes away, but I don’t think that will ever happen – do you?”

People will still have sex, Prof Hunter argues adding, “vaccination is pretty much the only option”.

Fortunately, the smallpox vaccine which was used to eradicate that virus is around 85% effective at preventing monkeypox. However, currently, the stockpiles for the vaccine are limited. WHO is now working with several companies to develop the vaccines for monkeypox

Which are the monkeypox vaccines that are currently approved?

WHO notified that one smallpox vaccine, called MVA-BN, has been approved in Canada, the European Union and the U.S. for use against monkeypox. Two other vaccines, LC16 and ACAM2000, are also being considered for use against monkeypox.

However pointing out the real threat currently, the WHO chief said, “There are also challenges with the availability of this vaccine. There are about 16 million doses of MVA-BN globally. Most are in bulk form, meaning they will take several months to “fill and finish” into vials that are ready to use.”

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