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US Declares Monkeypox a National Public Health Emergency

Declaration allows mobilization of funding, resources to address the virus.


US Health Secretary Xavier Becerra declared a national public health emergency for monkeypox.

“In light of evolving circumstances on the ground, I am declaring a public health emergency on #monkeypox. We are prepared to take our response to the next level in addressing this virus. We urge every American to take monkeypox seriously," Becerra, tweeted this afternoon.

The declaration mobilizes the response and opens up federal funding to address the virus.

As of yesterday, there has been 6617 confirmed cases with California and New York having the most cases. Earlier this week, California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency with regards to the monkeypox outbreak. This came on the heels of San Francisco and New York City declaring states of emergency along with New York State’s declaration that monkeypox is an "imminent threat to public health," over the last week.

The US federal agencies are making vaccines and treatment available. For example, CDC and FDA have developed a process to help clinicians secure an antiviral therapy, tecovirimat (Tpoxx), for treatment for patients with monkeypox. This falls under the expanded access investigational new drug (EA-IND). Clinicians can begin the process to secure tecovirimat by going here.

Tecovirimat is manufactured by SIGA Technologies, and is approved for smallpox and is being studied for monkeypox treatment. Contagion spoke with SIGA Technologies Chief Scientific Officer Dennis Hruby, PhD, recently about the therapy.

The federal government has also been sending out vaccines to prevent the spread of monkeypox. At this point in time, it has been reported that only people who are close personal contacts of people who have contracted the virus are eligible to get access to the vaccines.