As Dr. Jay Varma, Director of the Cornell Center for Pandemic Prevention and Response, stated to John Oliver on August 8th, “…monkeypox was the perfect stress test.” The United States already had the tests, the vaccines, and the therapeutics to combat monkeypox because of its biodefense strategy to respond to a weaponized use of smallpox. Yet, the early response has faced challenges.
August 15, 2022, marked the 100th day since the first case of monkeypox was reported in the United Kingdom, the first appearance of the disease’s spread in non-endemic areas. Since the first case was reported in the United Kingdom on May 7th, the virus has been confirmed in over 90 countries. As of August 15th, there were 38,452 cases across the globe, with 12,636 in the United States alone. Simply put, the spread of the virus outpaced the public health messaging and activation of the medical countermeasures available.
To understand how the virus has spread despite U.S. preparations, it is important to examine the key response efforts tailored to the monkeypox outbreak. This Briefer from the Nolan Center on Strategic Weapons details the early dynamics of the outbreak, evaluates the testing, vaccination, and therapeutic rollout, and provides an outlook and analysis meant to help the United States prevent and address similar biological threats.
About the author
Dr. Daniel P. Regan is a Fellow at the Janne E. Nolan Center on Strategic Weapons, an institute of the Council on Strategic Risks. Dr. Regan’s background is in biomedical engineering, focused on pathogen collection, detection, and mitigation.