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Quartz: The most advanced treatments for monkeypox were developed to address the wrong threat

May 20, 2022 | Annalisa Merelli

Nadia Sam-Agudu

The markets may be in free fall, but a few biotechnology companies had an exceptionally good day. Siga’s stock is up more than 40%; Emergent Biosolutions’s gained nearly 12%, and Tonix Pharmaceuticals, 15%. Outside the US, Danish company Bavarian Nordic jumped 19%.

The reason? They make treatments for monkeypox.

A few cases of monkeypox have been registered in Europe and North America, far from West and Central Africa where outbreaks typically emerge. With COVID still very much ongoing and fresh memories of early 2020, the alert has gone up quickly, lifting the shares of makers of the medications that would be needed to treat a monkeypox outbreak.

...While bioterrorism is a serious threat, there is something paradoxical about European countries having to order smallpox treatments from the U.S. in order to treat monkeypox, a disease to which rich countries hadn’t given any thought since the first official case in 1970. But like the spread of covid, the recent monkeypox flare-ups show viruses heed no borders.

“Saying ‘no one is OK if we are all not OK’ is not just a punchline, but a truth inherent to the principle of global health,” says Nadia Sam-Agudu, a pediatrics professor at University of Maryland School of Medicine’s Institute of Human Virology.

Read the full story


Vanessa McMains
Director, Media & Public Affairs
Institute of Human Virology
University of Maryland School of Medicine

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