Long before it became the topic of hourly news bulletins, monkeypox was a virus of interest to US researchers intent on creating safer smallpox vaccines and treatments. Some hope now that monkeypox's Western Hemisphere debut will spread the wealth of scientific knowledge back to central and western Africa, where monkeypox is endemic and sometimes fatal.

"Monkeypox has not been established as a top-priority disease, and it should be," said Joel Breman, who chaired the World Health Organization's monkeypox study committee and is now senior scientist at the National Institute of Health's John E. Fogarty International Center. "It should be a higher priority because of its potential for exportation, number one, and number two, because the natural history of monkeypox remains unknown even 30 years after its discovery in humans and 45 years from its first discovery in nonhuman primates."

Labs at the US Army Research Institute for Infectious...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?