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public health agency of africa says the continent of 1.3 billion still does not have a single dose of the monkeypox vaccine, but “very advanced discussions” are underway with at least two partners.
The acting director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Ahmed Ogwell, told reporters on Thursday that he could not give details, but said the partners were “largely multilateral institutions and non-African governments”. There are no discussions with the private sector because all available doses have already been purchased by countries, he said.
But a clinical trial is underway in Congo for a vaccine, Jynneos, which is under emergency use authorization, Ogwell said. The two-dose vaccine is considered the main medical weapon against the disease, but its availability is limited. The Africa CDC did not immediately respond to a question about the details of the trial.
This year, more monkeypox deaths have been reported on the African continent than anywhere else in the world. Since May, nearly 90 countries have reported more than 31,000 cases.
At least 2,947 cases of monkeypox have been reported in 11 African countries this year, including 104 deaths, but most reported cases are suspicious because the African continent also lacks enough diagnostic resources for extensive testing, the director said. of the Africa CDC.
The lack of vaccine doses and the shortage of diagnostics echo the challenges Africa’s 54 countries faced for months during the COVID-19 pandemic as wealthier nations elsewhere scrambled for supplies.
The Africa director spoke as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is on the final leg of a visit to three African countries, where he articulated Washington’s new strategy for engaging with nations sub-Saharan Africa as “equal partners”. Earlier this week, Blinken was in Congo, which has many of the 136 new cases of monkeypox reported across Africa last week.
The World Health Organization classified the growing epidemic of the once-rare disease monkeypox as an international emergency in July; the United States declared it a national emergency last week.
Outside of Africa, 98% of cases are in men who have sex with men. With a limited number global vaccine supplyauthorities race to stop monkeypox before it takes hold.
The spread of monkeypox usually requires skin-to-skin or skin-to-mouth contact with an infected patient’s lesions. People can also become infected through contact with the clothing or bedding of someone who has monkeypox lesions.
Most people infected with monkeypox recover without treatment, but it can cause more serious symptoms like brain inflammation and, in rare cases, death. The version of monkeypox that is spreading in Europe and North America has a lower death rate than that circulating in Africa, where people have mostly become ill after coming into contact with infected wild animals like rodents and squirrels.