WHO: Monkeypox cases rose 20% in past week

Monkeypox vaccine vial and needle
Monkeypox vaccine vial and needle

Diy13 / iStock

For the second week in row, monkeypox cases increased by about 20%, with most case increases seen in Europe and North America, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

According to the WHO, more than 35,000 cases of monkeypox have now been reported from 92 countries and territories, with 12 deaths. 

"Almost all cases continue to be reported among men who have sex with men, underscoring the importance for all countries to design and deliver services and information tailored to these communities that protect health, human rights, and dignity," said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, in remarks today.

In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 799 more cases, raising the nation's total to 12,689. New York has the most cases, with 2,620, followed by California with 1,945.

In Texas, Harris County has reported a pediatric monkeypox case, the nation's eighth pediatric case. Officials said the child does not attend daycare or school, and has no immediate family members infected.

Lack of optimal guidance spotlighted

Yesterday in BMJ Global Health, experts who searched six major databases for clinical guidelines on monkeypox found a dearth of information and suggest that the absence of clear clinical guidance is hindering the outbreak response.

The 14 clinical guidelines that do exist are limited in scope, with only 5 guidelines (36%) providing any advice for children, and only 3 (21%) providing advice for pregnant women or for people living with HIV. 

Several epidemiologic studies of the current outbreak have shown that a high proportion of monkeypox cases are also HIV positive. And treatment guidelines were also out of date, with seven suggesting the use of cidofovir, instead of tecovirimat (Tpoxx), which the WHO currently recommends.

"The data shows an urgent need to develop evidence-based clinical management guidelines that could be used in all settings globally," the authors write. "Considering most cases of MPX are mild, and the risk of severe side effects from some of the treatments, there is a need for more detailed indications and understanding of safety profiles to guide treatment decisions, to benefit patient care."

Trouble meeting vaccine demand

Bavarian Nordic, the maker of Jynneos (Imvanex in Europe and Imvamune in Canada), told Bloomberg News it no longer may be able to meet the demand for monkeypox vaccines.

"Demand keeps rising, and it's no longer certain that we can continue to meet the demand we're facing even with the upgrade of our existing manufacturing site in Denmark," Rolf Sass Sorensen, a vice president at Bavarian Nordic, said.

The company said it may outsource some manufacturing to the United States.

In other vaccine news, Blue Water Vaccines Inc (BWV), said it is in the beginning stages of developing a monkeypox vaccine that uses a virus-like particle (VLP) platform.

"As monkeypox cases rise around the globe, BWV is committed to exploring the potential of our platform to create a novel monkeypox vaccine candidate," said Joseph Hernandez, BWV chairman and CEO, in a press release. "Our VLP platform has previously demonstrated versatility across multiple infectious diseases, and we are excited to initiate this research to understand the potential to create another vaccine to fight this outbreak."

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