India plans to conduct monkeypox genomic surveillance | Mint – Mint


NEW DELHI : A top government task force on monkeypox has decided to conduct genomic surveillance and explore research into the viral disease. According to an official who attended its review meeting, the task force also discussed diagnosis, treatment, preventive measures, vaccination and creating an enabling environment if cases rise. A team has also been put in place to process and review this work.

Monkeypox is characterized by fever with rashes, headache, swollen lymph nodes, muscle and body aches, back pain and weakness.

“We decided on every aspect and parameter related to the monkeypox virus. Research & Development (R&D) activities are actively being considered and being expanded across the country,” the official cited above said on the condition of anonymity. The task force considered strategy, action plans and possible interventions, as well as ways to conduct genomic surveillance and assess the mutation rate.

The official said that cases in India will indeed rise, but it cannot be predicted whether it will become a pandemic or not, since the country has a very large population. “They are protected because of smallpox vaccination, and the younger population already has better immunity. The fatality rate is very low based on whatever we know as of today. So, it’s a self-limiting disease and vaccination may be given when there is a large population of event to occur as a preventive vaccine,” the official added.

Queries emailed to a health ministry spokesperson on Wednesday morning remained unanswered.

India has reported nine cases of monkeypox so far. Experts said that the two vaccines— ACAM2000 and Jynneos—are available worldwide which were invented for smallpox, and these have not been tested on monkeypox, however, the vaccines made for ‘pox viruses’ are cross-protected to one another.

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