DOH now exploring sources of monkeypox vaccines, antivirals for possible outbreak

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 27) – The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday said it is looking into potential sources of monkeypox vaccines and antivirals in the event of an outbreak.

Citing the World Health Organization, the department said that while a monkeypox vaccine has already been developed, this is not yet widely available.

“The DOH is exploring all possible available sources and expedient legal methods for the procurement of monkeypox vaccines,” it wrote in a statement, noting it is now preparing supply chains and logistics services.

The DOH added that consultations with experts regarding vaccination and priority groups must still be done.

Meanwhile, it bared there are also internal discussions for the possible acquisition of antivirals to treat infected individuals, especially those with severe cases.

The viral zoonotic disease, which was first identified in humans in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, has recently reemerged in several non-endemic countries, including the United States, Canada, Spain, and Italy.

To date, no case of monkeypox has been detected in the Philippines.

READ: What is monkeypox and its signs and symptoms?

The DOH said it is coordinating with the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) and the Philippine Genome Center regarding laboratory requirements for monitoring and surveillance of monkeypox through RT-PCR tests.

“On the matter of procurement of any specific brands of RT-PCR tests for monkeypox, DOH will rely on scientific evidence to guide its decisions for procurement. We will provide updates once substantive developments have occurred,” the department added.

The government also earlier said it is intensifying border screening to prevent the entry of the disease in the country.

Should monkeypox reach the Philippines, the DOH said immediate isolation and quarantine measures will be implemented, with the RITM in Muntinlupa City designated as the main isolation facility.

Local governments and health facilities will meanwhile be directed to conduct immediate case investigation, back tracing and contact tracing.

RELATED: Supply of smallpox vaccine, which can prevent monkeypox, ‘very minimal in PH’ – health expert