An expert panel of the World Health Organization (WHO) has agreed to keep the emergency designation for the ongoing monkeypox outbreak, the global body announced on Tuesday.
In July, WHO called the multi-country outbreak a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC), aiming to generate a coordinated global response against the virus.
PHEIC designation, the agency’s highest level of warning, previously issued for the COVID-19 pandemic and Ebola, is intended to unlock funding to share vaccines and therapeutics.
At a meeting in October, WHO’s Emergency Committee, however, noted the recent progress made to contain the virus, which has led to over 77K confirmed cases, including 23 deaths globally this year, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Citing concerns such as lack of fair access to monkeypox tests, antiviral and vaccines, the panel has concluded that the outbreak meets the criteria for PHEIC.
Closely related to smallpox, monkeypox is a rare viral infection most common in remote parts of Central and West Africa.
In August, the U.S. named monkeypox a public health emergency in an attempt to galvanize resources and increase awareness to contain its spread.