Monkeypox simulation results: Fictional nation, terror group and massive outbreak

Updated: May 24, 2022, 06:42 PM(IST)

In March 2021 at the Munich Security Conference, a simulation was run on reducing "high-consequence biological threat". The exercise sought to examine gaps in national and international biosecurity and pandemic preparedness.

Monkeypox virus simulation at Munich Security Conference 

In March 2021 at the Munich Security Conference, a simulation was run on reducing "high-consequence biological threat". The exercise sought to examine gaps in national and international biosecurity and pandemic preparedness.

The exercise scenario portrayed a "global pandemic" involving an unusual strain of monkeypox virus that emerged in the fictional nation of Brinia and spread globally over 18 months.

The exercise scenario was on the initial outbreak which was caused by a "terrorist attack" using a pathogen engineered in a laboratory with inadequate biosafety and biosecurity provisions and weak oversight. 

By the end of the exercise, the fictional pandemic resulted in more than three billion cases and 270 million fatalities worldwide.

In May 2022, the scenario looks all too real and scary.

(Photograph:Reuters)

Scenario: Monkeypox outbreak in Brinia

Bizzarly, the scenario looked at the period between May 15, 2022 to June 2022 as the first scenario with the monkeypox outbreak in Brinia with 1,421 cases and 4 deaths with no international warnings or advisories.

The Brinian government welcomes international outbreak investigations and requests medical support from the WHO. Genome sequencing of monkeypox patient samples reveals that the strain in Brinia contains mutations that make it resistant to existing vaccines

It highlighted key issues of international alert & warning systems and to look at benefits of the need for early risk assessment.

Then in January 10, 2023 with 83 countries affected with 70 million cases and 1.3 million deaths. The scenario revealed monkeypox to be vaccine-resistant with international supply chain challenges. Does it sound familiair?

(Photograph:AFP)

Scenario: Terror group origin

In May 10, 2023, the simulation showed 480 million cases and 27 million deaths. There is revelation of terror group origin including infiltration of civilian biolab.

On December 1, 2023, the scenario moved to 3.2 billion cases and 271 million deaths. The simulation said global differences in national responses contributes to significantly variable outcomes. There was international financing for pandemic preparedness with measures to strengthen national pandemic preparedness capacity.

(Photograph:AFP)

Arnican terrorist group

The Brinian intelligence reveals that the engineered monkeypox virus was developed illicitly at the fictional country of Arnica’s leading institute for virology, the simulation said.

An independent Arnican terrorist group—the SPA—had worked with sympathetic laboratory scientists to engineer a highly contagious, deadly pathogen and disperse it at crowded train stations in Brinia during the national holiday, the tabletop simulation revealed. 

(Photograph:Reuters)

Gap in UN system

The final phase of the exercise was a roundtable discussion that considered disparities in public health preparedness around the globe and the resulting need for more effective financing mechanisms to accelerate pandemic preparedness capacity building. 

Participants noted that biological incidents of unknown original fall into a gap in the UN system

Exercise participants discussed the need for substantially increased international financing for pandemic preparedness.

(Photograph:Reuters)

Epidemiological curve

The excercise concluded that the WHO must upgrade the PHEIC system to provide more actionable alerts and warnings and said national governments and their leaders must err on the side of taking early action.

It said the national-level pandemic response actions should support the strategy of flattening the epidemiological curve while rapidly scaling up health system capacity to prevent collapse in the face of growing caseloads.
 

(Photograph:Reuters)

Monkeypox in US

In the current situation, the United States is preparing to give monkeypox vaccines to close contacts of people infected and to deploy treatments.

One orthopoxvirus case is in New York, one in Florida and two in Utah. All those infected so far in the United States have been men who had a relevant travel history.

Genetic sequencing of the Massachusetts case matched that of a patient in Portugal and belonged to the West African strain, the milder of the two monkeypox strains.

(Photograph:Reuters)

Monkeypox not usually fatal

The virus causes a rash, with skin lesions focused on certain areas of the body, or spread more widely. In some cases, during early stages, a rash can start on the genital or perianal areas.

The CDC is also developing treatment guidance to allow the deployment of antivirals tecovirimat and brincidofovir, both of which are licensed for smallpox.

Monkeypox, which is not usually fatal, can cause a fever, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion and a chickenpox-like rash on the hands and face. 

(Photograph:Reuters)

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