Managing the Impact of Monkeypox

BALTIMORE, MD, July 26, 2022 – New audio is available for media use featuring Carri Chan on managing the impact of monkeypox. Chan is the John A. Howard professor of business and is the faculty director of the Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Management Program at Columbia Business School. This content is made available by INFORMS, the largest association for the decision and data sciences. All sound should be attributed to Carri Chan. What follows are 4 questions and responses. These responses were provided on July 25, 2022.



Question 1: From a public health mitigation standpoint, what are the major differences between managing the Covid virus and the Monkey Pox virus?

Time Cue: 0:26, Soundbite Duration: 1:31

“So, I Think there's a couple of key differences between the Covid virus and the Monkey Pox virus. I think the first one is that when Covid first came out, it was a complete unknown with very little information. We didn't even know how it was spread, whereas with Monkey Pox it has been endemic in a number of countries, and there's more known about how it is transmitted.  And so that already gives us a leg up in many ways because we know what types of behaviors put individuals at higher risk, what types of interactions put individuals at higher risk. The other is that the viruses seem to be spread in very different ways. So, Monkey Pox requires very close interactions, whereas the Covid virus does not require that.  And so, we saw the spread of the Covid virus take off much, much more rapidly if you think in comparison. At the point where we had the same number of positive known positive Covid cases, versus known Monkey Pox cases, the trajectories have looked quite different.”  



Question 2: What have we learned from Covid that will be useful in combatting Monkey Pox?

Time Cue: 1:56, Soundbite Duration: 1:04

“So, I think this actually goes beyond where my research focus is, but actually really on messaging and how important getting information out to the public so they can appropriately adjust their behaviors and assess their risks. I think that was something in Covid. There were many missteps along the way, and this is something that we would hope to avoid with Monkey Pox. Although the response has been a little bit muddled currently as well. The next I would say is in trying to address the spread before things get too far out of control.  I think once you start moving towards a very reactive approach, waiting for case numbers to hit a certain amount before you decide to declare an emergency, often that is when things are out of reach and it's much more difficult to reign in the spread of the virus at that point.”



Question 3: How should federal and state public health officials proactively mitigate the spread of the Monkey Pox virus?

Time Cue: 3:06, Soundbite Duration: 2:00

“So, building on earlier I think trying to be more proactive is a key component to response for the Monkey Pox virus.  I think there's a couple of ways that they can be proactive. So, one is certainly in using vaccinations in a very strategic manner. So, the vaccines that are available have been shown to be able to reduce the amount of symptoms for individuals and reduce the infectiousness. Potentially if given early enough after exposure. And so, using those vaccines both as treatment and as preventative mechanisms is a way to stop the spread growing very rapidly. There are a limited number of treatments that are available and most of them have not been developed for Monkey Pox specifically. But if there's a potential that that could also be effective in trying to reduce the infectiousness of individuals. And then just using vaccinations for even before people have been exposed but in a proactive manner, identifying people who are potentially super spreaders based on their own level of risk, the types of interactions that they're having with individuals, and so being a little bit more strategic and less reactive. Because one thing we saw with the Covid virus is that once things have spread very widely it is so much more difficult to get a handle on the epidemic. And so, these proactive actions are a necessary approach to addressing the current Monkey Pox spread.”



Question 4: What are the data, analytics and operations research tools that can and should be used to stem the spread of Monkey Pox?

Time Cue: 5:16, Soundbite Duration: :57

“Yeah, so the approach of using data and analytics allows you to do to a number of things.  So, data and analytics allows you to see what happened, but also think about what is going to happen, and potentially even what will happen if you do something differently. And that's really the key where analytics and operations tools can be really useful. We have vaccinations. There are two different types of vaccines with various pros and cons related to availability as well as side effects and efficacy. And so, using analytics and operations research tools can allow us to think through carefully what's the best way to utilize these resources that can be most effective in stemming the spread and reducing the impact this Monkey Pox virus will have on society and individuals.” 

Managing the Impact of Monkeypox

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