The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has revealed the absence of monkeypox vaccine in the country.
The agency stated this in response to concerns that the ongoing monkeypox pandemic might become more fatal, as vaccines, treatments and tests are unavailable in much of the world, especially Africa .
A report published, last week, by The New York Times showed that African countries don’t have monkeypox vaccines, treatments and tests.
But on Sunday, September 18, the Director General, NCDC, Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa, said: “The NCDC has testing and genomic sequencing capacity for monkeypox at our National Reference Laboratory (NRL), Abuja. Monkeypox diagnostic capacity is also being rolled out at Central Public Health Laboratory, Lagos, a campus of the NRL, as a first step to increasing access to testing, given a large number of cases in 2022.
“There are currently no vaccines available in the country. But official requests have been made to the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United States for available vaccines (second or third generation).”
“Monkeypox is a self-limiting disease, which has been primarily managed in Nigeria through supportive treatment; meaning the symptoms are treated in the patients. We have identified a few patient groups at very high risk for severe disease, hospitalisation and death. As a result, NCDC is looking into procuring the only medication licensed for monkeypox treatment, Tecovirimat (TPOXX), for high-risk groups (immunosuppressed patients).”
On implications of the absence of vaccines and treatment for monkeypox in Nigeria and indeed Africa, Adetifa said NCDC’s priority is to procure a therapeutic option to offer those at high risk of severe symptoms, hospitalisation and death, given its local epidemiology and experience.