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Sunday, April 21, 2024
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HomeNewsMonkeypox, the virus that bugged out, continues to disappoint

Monkeypox, the virus that bugged out, continues to disappoint

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IF I were a teacher and I was giving monkeypox its end of term report, I think it would be along the lines of ‘has potential, but could do better’.  

And, indeed, it does seem that it is the end of the term for monkeypox. According to the World Health Organisation, cases have just declined by 21 per cent. I also see that Global Health News, running out of things to say about it, is simply putting up links to old stories it ran last week. 

Concomitantly with the decline of monkeypox, it seems the monkeypox vaccine strategy is hitting its own buffers. There is such a shortage of the Jynneos vaccine being used in the United States that they are trying to eke it out by taking five shots from each vial. But it is not working, and they are still running out.  

Likewise, the antiviral Tpoxx which is being used as a treatment is running out. Gay men are being turned away from clinics and say that they have ‘no clear guidance’ on what to do. I think I have some advice, but they may not wish to hear it.  

And it is hard times for sex workers, with one ‘exotic dancer’ saying that if she cannot make contact with her clients, she will lose 95 per cent of her income. 

Naturally, we must not stigmatise anyone with monkeypox, unless we are the Guardian, which claims that seeing someone with monkeypox lesions on their face leads to people ‘freaking out’.  

It is just as well that the average man or woman on the street has very little chance of seeing someone with monkeypox because, as we have repeatedly pointed out in these pages, hardly anyone has it. Meantime, scientists continue to agonise over the name. I don’t know why they don’t just get on with it and call it  ‘colonialpox’, as that won’t stigmatise anybody … who matters. 

There is what is being referred to as the ‘nuclear option’, which would involve breaking out stockpiled ACAM2000 smallpox vaccine, which was made for use in case of biological warfare attack.  

And it is hard to understand what is stopping them. It is reported that this vaccine has ‘dangerous side-effects like heart inflammation’. How strange, as I am sure that there is another vaccine with a similar side-effect which is currently being rolled out unabated.  

Also, apparently, this vaccine cannot be administered to ‘immunocompromised people such as those with HIV’. Thus, it is clear who was meant to survive in the event of a biological warfare attack. 

In other monkeypox news, the virus has finally reached all 50 states of the US, with Wyoming weighing in with a single case. It must have been such a relief not to be left out of the monkeypox story.  

Elsewhere, gay bars are playing a role in fighting monkeypox, which seems only fair given that they may have played a role in spreading it. And, in one of those ‘you simply could not make it up stories’ the Pentagon has mandated monkeypox vaccines – but only for naval personnel. I am sure that no stereotyping was intended. 

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Roger Watson
Roger Watson
Roger Watson is a Professor of Nursing.

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