The United States is at risk of losing control of the monkeypox outbreak, because the Biden administration has been much too slow and cumbersome in its response, infectious disease experts have warned, The Hill reported on Sunday.
The mistakes are very similar to those made when the coronavirus pandemic first broke out, experts said, stressing that it is spreading due to inadequate testing and a slow rollout of vaccines.
National Coalition of STD Directors executive director David Harvey told The Hill that “we have lagged [in] streamlining testing, making vaccines available, streamlining access to the best therapeutics,” emphasizing that the monkeypox outbreak has not been controlled, because “all three areas have been bureaucratic and slow.”
Harvey added, “This outbreak is already out of control. So we have not contained it. Vaccines are not going to contain it at this point. Because we don’t have enough. Getting them into arms is an expensive and intense process.”
Making matters more inexcusable, experts said, is that strategies to reduce the spread of monkeypox are well known and have been for some time, because it is not a novel virus like COVID-19.
Even though the Biden administration is boosting testing capacity and broadening access to vaccinations, James Krellenstein, co-founder of the HIV treatment advocacy group Prep4All, slammed the administration for not learning lessons from the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, saying, “We’ve been sort of screaming for a month about how bad the diagnostic situation is for monkeypox. And that really was a clear error, preventable.”
Celine Gounder, an infectious disease specialist and editor-at-large for public health at Kaiser Health News, added her criticism, stating, “We already had testing available. We already had vaccines available. We should have really been much more aggressive with testing … and I think this speaks to some of the bureaucracy of both FDA [Food and Drug Administration] and CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention].”
Gounder added, “Getting the commercial labs on board they could have done sooner. Getting academic medical centers to do testing, hospital labs to develop their own PCR tests. I mean, that’s not a very difficult thing to do.”
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