Chinese companies preparing to cash in on monkeypox by developing test kits and vaccines

Chinese companies preparing to cash in on monkeypox by developing test kits and vaccines

Several laboratories have started making nucleic acid test kits for the virus which is spreading around the world with more than 200 confirmed cases.

Chinese companies are already preparing to cash in on monkeypox by developing test kits and vaccines, after profiting hugely from the Covid pandemic.

China has not yet recorded any infections but their experts believe a vaccine could be developed within a year.

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.

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.

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.

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