On Thursday (June 23), the World Health Organization will hold a conference to evaluate whether the current outbreak of monkeypox could be classified as a worldwide emergency similar to the one caused by COVID-19.
Some medical professionals, on the other hand, are of the opinion that the decisions made by the global organisation are not implemented until after the disease has spread to the Western hemisphere, which may lead to a worsening of the inequalities that were already present during the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the Associated Press (AP), designating the outbreak of monkeypox a worldwide emergency would indicate that the organisation regards it as a “extraordinary event” and that there is a risk that the virus could spread over international borders.
At this time, the majority of reported cases of monkeypox are coming from wealthier nations that are moving quickly to put an end to the disease, despite the fact that many researchers are sceptical that such declarations will be effective in putting an end to the epidemic.
“There may be good reasons why WHO only raised the alarm when monkeypox spread to rich nations,” David Fidler, a senior fellow in global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, said. “But to poor countries, that appears like a double standard,” Fidler said.
He went on to say that the international community was still having trouble ensuring that the world’s poor were immunised against the coronavirus, and that it was uncertain whether or not Africans really desired monkeypox vaccines, given that there were other competing priorities such as malaria and HIV.
Before this month, monkeypox has never before caused a significant outbreak anywhere other than in Africa.
In spite of this, the researchers have not identified any appreciable genomic shifts in the virus.