The Role of Social Media in Promoting the Advancement of Science

After 2 days of deliberation, an advisory panel convened by the World Health Organization (WHO) has concluded the monkeypox outbreak that has spread to more than 50 countries does not yet warrant the declaration of a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), its highest alert level. They punted.” The panel’s report issued today suggests there was some disagreement on whether to issue the global alert. “I hope the director general is smart enough to convene people again in a much more timely manner.” The panel’s monkeypox decision raises larger questions, says Alexandra Phelan, a lawyer at Georgetown University who specializes in global health policy. WHO currently has PHEIC declarations for polio and COVID-19, and many infectious disease scientists had expected one for monkeypox. The committee was right to note the injustice of monkeypox outbreaks having been neglected for years, she added, but “I think it is quite clear that the time has come to reconsider what the goal of PHEICs are and whether the criteria are fit for their purpose of alerting the global community and sufficiently equitable in an interconnected world.” Update, 26 June, 10 a.m.: Outside comments on the decision of the WHO panel were added to this story. “This is the public health global alert mechanism and I worry what waiting a few weeks before sufficiently grabbing political attention will mean for community transmission,” she wrote in an email to . Along with accepting the panel’s decision, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus today issued a statement that said he was “deeply concerned” about the monkeypox outbreak. Signs that the monkeypox virus is establishing new animal reservoirs outside Africa could also warrant a PHEIC reconsideration, the group said. (). Continue reading.



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