Chinese companies are already preparing to cash in on monkeypox by developing test kits and vaccines, after profiting hugely from the Covid pandemic.
Several laboratories have started making nucleic acid test kits for the virus which is spreading around the world with more than 200 confirmed cases.
China has not yet recorded any infections but their experts believe a vaccine could be developed within a year.
Chinese companies are already preparing to cash in on monkeypox by developing test kits and vaccines, after profiting hugely from the Covid pandemic. Pictured: researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology
At least 221 monkeypox cases have been confirmed across the world since the first patient was sickened in the UK on May 6
The country’s state-run newspaper Global Times said: ‘Several Chinese test kit makers reached by the Global Times on Monday said they have developed nucleic acid test kits for monkeypox, which can be quickly put into mass production and on the domestic market once approved by the government.
‘Meanwhile, experts pointed out that there are no technological problems in developing a vaccine against monkeypox and a rapid special review by China’s drug administration could help the country develop the vaccine in roughly a year.’
Pharmaceutical company Sinovac saw sales in the first half of 2021 explode to more than 160 times the previous year as a result of their Covid vaccine.
The firm boasted sales of £9billion in the first six months of last year, up from just £50million the year before, showing the huge financial gains to be made from a pandemic.
Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion
So far, conspiracy theories are already spreading on Chinese social media that the US is deliberately spreading monkeypox, after its Communist government was accused of leaking and covering up Covid.
At least 221 monkeypox cases have been confirmed across the world since the first patient was sickened in the UK on May 6, with most infections among gay and bisexual men.
The United Arab Emirates, Czech Republic and Slovenia are the latest countries to log infections.
Although not purposefully made for monkeypox, the Imvanex jab — made by Danish-based Bavarian Nordic to treat smallpox — is up to 85 per cent effective because the two viruses are so similar.
Antivirals and therapies for smallpox also work for monkeypox.
Dr Romulus Breban, a researcher at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, said the current global outbreak was ‘waiting to happen’ because of the world’s ‘almost zero’ immunity level.
The smallpox vaccine, called Imvanex in the UK and Jynneos in the US, can protect against monkeypox because the viruses causing the illnesses are related
Nineteen countries have detected cases in the past month, which has sparked alarm because infections usually only occur in west and central Africa.
Imported outbreaks have always fizzled out naturally after a few cases.
The UK Health Security Agency is contacting high-risk contacts of confirmed cases and advising them to self-isolate at home for three weeks and avoid contact with children.
They are also being offered the Imvanex vaccine.
This strategy, known as ring vaccination, involves jabbing and monitoring anyone around an infected person to form a buffer of immune people to limit the spread of the disease.
It has been used in previous monkeypox outbreaks.
The disease, first discovered in lab monkeys in the late 1950s, is usually mild but can cause severe illness in some cases. It can kill up to 10 per cent of people it infects.
The milder strain causing the current outbreak kills one in 100 — similar to when Covid first hit.
Monkeypox has an incubation period of anywhere up to 21 days, meaning it can take three weeks for symptoms to appear.
Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion.
A rash can develop, often beginning on the face, which then spreads to other parts of the body — including the genitals.
The rash can look like chickenpox or syphilis, and scabs can form which then fall off.
Monkeypox outbreak may have been sparked by sex at two raves in Belgium and Spain, WHO expert warns
Sexual transmission at two festivals in Europe may have sparked the world’s escalating monkeypox outbreak, a World Health Organization expert has claimed.
Dr David Heymann, who used to head the WHO’s emergencies department, revealed it was the leading theory behind the origins of the current cluster of cases.
He said: ‘We know monkeypox can spread when there is close contact with the lesions of someone who is infected, and it looks like sexual contact has now amplified that transmission.
‘It’s very possible there was somebody who got infected, developed lesions on the genitals, hands or somewhere else, and then spread it to others when there was sexual or close physical contact.
‘And then there were these international events that seeded the outbreak around the world, into the US and other European countries.’
Despite not naming either festival, health chiefs tasked with containing the virus have already begun tracing cases back to the Gran Canarian gay pride festival – attended by up to 80,000 people between May 5-15.
Meanwhile, three cases in Belgium have been linked with Darklands – a large-scale fetish festival in Antwerp, held from May 5-8. Organisers have since said there is ‘reason to assume’ someone at the event was infected.
Spanish health chiefs have also linked many cases to a single ‘sauna’ in Madrid.