The University of Manitoba has partnered with the Congolese National Biomedical Research Institute (INRB) to conduct a multi-faceted study on monkeypox.
The study aims to investigate monkeypox spread outside of its endemic regions and its variations over time.
The team will also conduct assessments to identify if monkeypox cases have been missed by looking for antibodies and investigate the effectiveness of the Imvamune monkeypox vaccine.
“A lot of this is going to be based on outreach programmes,” said team Co-lead Jason Kindrachuk, a Research Chair and Assistant Professor at the University of Manitoba.
“Working with or community partners to be able to pre-position ourselves to get information out to the public when needed, to be able to get it out to policymakers, to be able to assess things like vaccine effectiveness.”
Kindrachuk mentioned that the global spread of monkeypox has decreased in recent years due to community outreach efforts and community organisations helping to spread information.
Additionally, the implementation of a vaccination programme has helped to curb cases. However, cases have continued to rise in Central and West Africa – particularly in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In certain areas, thousands of cases have been documented or suspected and there has been a heavy and continual death toll from these cases.
The researchers also highlighted the issue of vaccine distribution in vulnerable countries.
Kindrachuk noted that the endemic nature of the virus in many areas of West and Central Africa should now call for the reinforcement of prevention strategies. He further explained that even with the vaccine, there was an emergence of a new type of monkeypox last year, and there is no certainty that something similar will not happen again.
The study has received $2.8 million from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the International Development Research Centre.
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