CHINESE labs are cashing in on the recent Monkeypox outbreak by selling test kits and a ‘vaccine’ as the number of global cases hits 200.
The country’s state-run media claimed that “several” manufacturers have already produced a nucleic acid test kit “that can be rapidly mass-produced” and hit shelves within weeks.
Global Times, spokesman for the Chinese government, also claimed that scientists could develop a monkeypox vaccine by the end of the year.
“Several Chinese test kit makers contacted by the Global Times on Monday said they have developed nucleic acid test kits for monkeypox, which can be quickly put into mass production and the domestic market once approved by the government. “, indicates the newspaper.
“Meanwhile, experts have stressed that there are no technological problems in the development of a monkeypox vaccine and that a prompt special review by China’s drug administration could help the country. to develop the vaccine in about a year.”
The pharmaceutical company Sinovac saw its sales in the first half of 2021 explode more than 160 times the previous year thanks to the development of a Covid vaccine.
The business raked in £9billion in the first six months of last year, up from just £50million in 2020, showing the huge gains that can be made during a pandemic.
Some 221 cases of monkeypox have been confirmed worldwide since the first patient was recorded to have the rare virus in the UK on May 6.
The United Arab Emirates, the Czech Republic and Slovenia are the latest countries to register cases.
Meanwhile, the Imvanex jab developed by Danish company Bavarian Nordic is said to be 85% effective against monkeypox and Covid.
Dr Romulus Breban, a researcher at the Institut Pasteur in Paris, said the current global outbreak was “waiting to happen” because the world had “almost zero” levels of immunity.
Nineteen countries have detected cases in the past month, raising alarm as infections usually only occur in West and Central Africa but have now spread to Europe and the Americas.
Previously there had been just eight cases of monkeypox in the UK, all linked to travel from West Africa.
But that’s not the case for this outbreak, which has now seen at least 57 people infected in the UK.
There is already community transmission in the UK – but the UK Health and Safety Agency (UKHSA) stresses the risk to the public is “low”.
Many more are expected to be diagnosed in the coming weeks, experts say.
The disease appears to disproportionately affect gay and bisexual men.
Health chiefs have warned gay and bisexual men to be on the lookout for new unexplained rashes.
Monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted disease, but can be transmitted through skin-to-skin contact during sex.
It causes flu-like symptoms before a rash spreads throughout the body.
And Britons have been warned to be ‘alert’ for monkeypox when traveling to popular tourist spots for the holidays this year.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said the explosion in cases is “a very unusual event”.
The agency’s European director, Dr Hans Henri Kluge, warned that in early summer across the continent, mass gatherings, festivals and parties could fuel the spread of monkeypox.
Dr Kluge said: ‘I’m concerned transmission is accelerating as the cases currently being detected are among those engaging in sexual activity, and the symptoms are unfamiliar to many.
Asked about the risk to Britons going to summer festivals or going on holiday, chief medical adviser Dr Susan Hopkins said people “need to be mindful” of the virus.
Dr Hopkins, from UKHSA, told the BBC: ‘The risk to the general population [from monkeypox] remains extremely low.
“People need to be aware of this, and we really want clinicians to be aware of this.”
A top WHO adviser has said the “random” outbreak of monkeypox could be explained by risky sexual behavior during two recent mass events in Europe.
A Gay Pride festival in Gran Canaria – attended by 80,000 people – has been linked to a number of cases in Madrid, Tenerife and Italy.
In Spain, which has the most cases of monkeypox in Europe, infections in the Malasaña district of Madrid have been traced to a sauna – Sauna Paraíso – which has since been closed.
A number of other communities followed by reporting more cases, including Andalusia, Galicia, Catalonia, the Basque Country and Extremadura.
A report from the German government to lawmakers, obtained by the AP, said the risk of catching monkeypox “appears mainly to lie in sexual contact between men”.
The four confirmed cases in Germany have been linked to exposure at festive events, including in Gran Canaria and Berlin, he said.
Meanwhile, the three confirmed cases of monkeypox in Belgium have been linked to a large-scale fetish festival in the port city of Antwerp, it was revealed on Friday.
Dr David Heymann, who previously headed the WHO’s emergency department, said the main theory explaining the spread of the disease was sexual transmission among gay and bisexual men at two raves held in Spain and Belgium.
Dr. Heymann told AP that monkeypox is known to be spread through close contact with the lesions of an infected person.
It appears that sexual contact has now amplified this transmission, Dr. Heymann said.
Monkeypox typically infects people in Central and West Africa when it jumps from wild animals, such as rodents and primates, to humans.