Best Life: Using antivirals to treat monkeypox

Published: Sep. 14, 2022 at 6:14 AM CDT
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DALLAS, Texas (Ivanhoe Newswire) – Monkeypox – it’s an unfamiliar virus that’s spreading everywhere, prompting the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to declare a public health emergency. While the CDC cautions gay and bisexual men that they may be at the highest risk, other health experts say, everyone, including kids, should take steps to avoid the spread.

The 2022 monkeypox outbreak started with a cluster in the United Kingdom on May 6, and two weeks later, the first case was reported in the United States. Now, monkeypox has been reported in every single state.

“The concern is how do we stop it? There’s a vaccine out there that does work, but in very short supply, hard to come by,” said Internal medicine doctor, David Winter, MD at Baylor Scott & White Health.

And once you get it, how do you treat it?

“There’s an antiviral pill that also helps, called T-POXX, which is also in short supply right now, hard to come by,” said Winter.

T-POXX is classified as an investigational drug for monkeypox. It was initially created in case of a bioterrorist smallpox attack. People who have taken a two-week course of the antiviral pills say they feel better within two days. But the government warns they only have 1.7 million courses in their national stockpile.

“T-POXX is a medication [that] stops the replication, stops a duplication of the virus in your body. So, it’s very effective – if you can get one,” said Winter.

Because monkeypox and smallpox share similar symptoms, Tembexa is another FDA-approved anti-viral first approved to treat smallpox. But experts fear that as kids head back to school, the spread will only get worse.

“I think we should teach the kids that no more hugging, no high fiving, no wrestling on the school grounds right now because that’s the way you can spread this particular disease,” said Winter.

Experts say prevention really is the best way to handle monkeypox, right now – avoiding skin-to-skin contact. It’s important to note that U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved any therapies specifically for the treatment of monkeypox.

Contributors to this news report include: Marsha Lewis, Producer; Roque Correa, Videographer & Editor.

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