Is Monkeypox the Next Pandemic?
As governments ratchet up attempts to track down the world’s first large epidemic of the viral virus outside of Africa, diagnostic businesses are rushing to develop tests for monkeypox to tap into a new market.
The hustle began this month, just like it did in early 2020 when businesses hurried to develop kits to aid in the diagnosis of COVID-19, resulting in a multibillion-dollar windfall for test manufacturers. However, because monkeypox is neither as transmissible nor as severe as COVID; hence, demand for monkeypox testing will be a fraction of what it was for COVID. Monkeypox causes flu-like symptoms and pus-filled skin lesions that normally cure on their own within weeks. And, unlike the rapid development of COVID, vaccinations, treatments, and testing are already available to help stop monkeypox from spreading.
Monkeypox’s Test Market
As the need to test for the SARS-CoV-2 virus fades and worry about monkeypox develops, analysts think a narrow new market might mitigate – but not make up for – the expected slowdown of COVID diagnostic sales. Roche, for example, generated 1.9 billion Swiss francs ($2.0 billion) in COVID test sales in the first quarter; moreover, Barclays (LON: BARC) analyst Emily Field expects that the tests will yield 3 billion Swiss francs in total for Roche by 2022. “Monkeypox revenues would be extremely tough to counteract this in any substantial sense,” she added.
Since early May, there were more than 550 confirmed cases of monkeypox in over 30 countries. The bulk of the cases occurred in Europe and was unrelated to travel to Africa, where the virus is widespread. Public health officials believe there is a chance of community transmission. There have been no deaths recorded. Nonetheless, the World Health Organization (WHO) anticipates infection rates to climb as surveillance improves. The WHO’s Europe director cautioned that the spread might accelerate when people congregate for summer gatherings and festivals. On a monkeypox scale, this epidemic is big. Still, there is no need for hundreds of thousands of tests, as there was when COVID first appeared, according to Daniel Bausch, senior director, emerging threats and global health security at FIND.
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