China-based diagnostic testers expect to make substantial profits from the World Health Organization (W.H.O.). The W.H.O. recently declared monkeypox an “public health emergency” and requested mass orders of diagnostic test kits from China-based companies. requested mass orders of monkeypox testing kits from at least two such manufacturers shortly after the declaration, China’s state-run Global Times reported on Tuesday.
The outlet claimed that at least two Chinese diagnostic test makers, the Shanghai-based Liferiver and the Taizhou-based Jiangsu Bioperfectus Technologies, received significant numbers of orders for monkeypox testing kits within hours of the W.H.O.’s announcement on July 23 that it now considers a worldwide monkeypox outbreak to pose “a public health emergency of international concern.”
“A manager with Liferiver surnamed Wang told the Global Times on Tuesday [July 26] that the orders came almost at the same time as the WHO declared the health emergency,” the newspaper relayed of Liferiver’s latest request for monkeypox testing kits.
“Liferiver […] received an urgent order for monkeypox nucleic acid detection reagents from the WHO, and the products will be supplied to 17 African countries including Angola, Algeria, Ethiopia and Kenya,” the Global Times detailed.
The newspaper further revealed that Jiangsu Bioperfectus Technologies, another diagnostic test manufacturer based in eastern China’s Taizhou city, likewise “got an order from the WHO” for monkeypox testing kits shortly after the U.N. public health body’s July 23 notice regarding the disease.
W.H.O. medical experts to declare monkeypox a “public health emergency” on July 23 despite acknowledging at the time that the disease posed a “moderate” threat of global spread, at worst. W.H.O. said that it had detected over 16,000 cases of monkeypox across 75 countries and territories, along with five deaths from the disease, as of July 23. Around May, the global epidemic of the disease broke out.
Fire Island, NY: A Northwell Health staff member holds the monkeypox vaccine, at Cherry Grove on Fire Island, New York, where monkeypox vaccines were administered on July 14, 2022. (Photo by James Carbone/Newsday RM via Getty Images)
Monkeypox is an infectious disease caused by the monkeypox virus, which is a “viral zoonosis,” or a “virus transmitted to humans from animals,” according to the W.H.O.
“Monkeypox is part of the same virus family as the variola virus which causes smallpox. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, monkeypox symptoms can be similar to smallpox but are milder and rarely fatal.
“While a vaccine has been approved for prevention of monkeypox, and traditional smallpox vaccine also provides protection, these vaccines are not widely available and populations worldwide under the age of 40 or 50 years no longer benefit from the protection afforded by prior smallpox vaccination programmes,” the W.H.O. noted on May 16.