Davos’ elite do not expect a Covid-19-style health crisis from monkeypox

Economic and political leaders gathered in the Swiss hilltop town of Davos in May 2022 for the World Economic Forum.

Xinhua News Agency | Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images

As the political and business elite gathered in Davos, Switzerland this week for the first time in person World Economic Forum Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, global health concerns have become heavy again.

A mysterious recent outbreak of monkeypox, a rare viral infection endemic to Africa, has confused doctors and scientists as cases have increased in Europe, North America, Australia and the Middle East.

Since Wednesday, at least 237 Confirmed and suspected cases of the disease have been reported globally, double the number recorded at the start of the Davos conference on Monday. Symptoms typically include skin rashes, fever, headache, body aches, swelling and back pain.

But business leaders at the conference said they don’t see the virus pose a risk close to that of the coronavirus pandemic.

‘I wouldn’t worry much’

The CEO of pharmaceutical giants Pfizer he said Wednesday that he “I wouldn’t worry much” on the peak of cases, noting that current data suggests that monkeypox is not transmitted as easily as other viruses such as Covid-19.

“With all I know, I wouldn’t worry too much,” Albert Bourla told CNBC, adding that some treatments already exist to minimize the impact of the virus.

The head of the German Armed Forces Institute of Microbiology Roman Woelfel works in his laboratory in Munich on May 20, 2022, after Germany detected its first case of monkeypox.

Christine Uyanik | Reuters

Smallpox vaccinations have been shown to be 85% effective against monkeypox. Already France Other Denmark they are evaluating targeted vaccination campaigns for people most at risk of transmitting the disease.

Bourla’s comments echo those from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which said on Monday that the monkeypox virus “it’s not Covid,” noting that it is not easily transmitted through air and respiratory particles.

Not a Covid-style risk.

Seth Berkley, CEO of the global vaccine alliance Gavi, said on Monday that there was still a lot of work to be done to understand the genesis of the outbreak, with more cases likely until that happens.

“If it were a small outbreak occurring in Central or West Africa, people would consider it normal. And you see person-to-person transmission in those settings, so it’s not unusual,” Berkley said.

“But for it to appear now … it means we have to understand exactly what’s going on,” he continued.

“The truth is, we don’t know what it is and therefore how serious it will be. But we are likely to see more cases.”

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