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Path to getting monkeypox medication has multiple obstacles

The wait for the monkeypox vaccine in San Francisco is long.

“I got here at 7:30 in the morning, so it’s been three and a half hours right now,” San Francisco resident Parind Shah said.

The waiting time for antiviral medicine to treat monkeypox is also extended.

“We don’t have an equitable system to really distribute them because they require so much paperwork,” said Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, an infectious disease specialist at UCSF.

The medication is called tecovirimat, with the brand name TPOXX.

Dr. Chin-Hong cares for critically ill monkeypox patients.

“It works by the envelope of the virus,” said Dr. Chin-Hong. “It breaks the envelope. The monkeypox virus is a very straightforward virus. It’s not complicated with spikes like COVID.”

There is no shortage of TPOXX, but it is FDA-approved for smallpox. For monkeypox, it is still considered an investigational drug.

CDC has removed some conditions so doctors can prescribe under something called expanded access. But that means hours of form and extra appointments.

Dr. Chin-Hong has seen patients get rid of it.

“He said, ‘Oh, you know, that’s fine. I don’t want to go in, do all this paperwork again. I think I’ll just deal with the pain. And you know what? You’re asking too many questions. I’ll let you know if I need to,'” said Dr. Chin-Hong.

The latest CDC data from the end of July shows that doctors wrote about 230 TPOXX prescriptions for monkeypox. Since then, the cases have doubled.

The CDC says that monkeypox is spread when a person touches the skin of someone who is infected and shows symptoms, such as sores or rashes. It can also spread through respiratory droplets or oral fluids in close and intimate contact.

You can also get monkeypox from touching contaminated clothing or bedding from an infected person with symptoms.

“We’re seeing an explosion of very small lesions,” said Dr. Jason Farley, an infectious disease nurse epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. “They’re deep seated, maybe under the skin, maybe they look like a budding pimple.”

If you fit any of these descriptions, health experts say call your doctor for a test as soon as possible, because antivirals like TPOXX work best when taken early in the illness.

This is where public health emergencies come into play. Declaring one frees up money in untapped reserves, and HHS rules won’t let providers dip from their COVID-19 emergency funds for monkeypox.

Dr. Chin-Hong says that for TPOXX, this means more support in this exceptional procedure to care for more patients.

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Path to getting monkeypox medication has multiple obstacles Source link Path to getting monkeypox medication has multiple obstacles

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