A Review of the Past, Present, and Future of the Monkeypox Virus: Challenges, Opportunities, and Lessons from COVID-19 for Global Health Security

Microorganisms. 2023 Nov 6;11(11):2713. doi: 10.3390/microorganisms11112713.


Monkeypox, a rare but significant zoonotic and orthopoxviral disease, has garnered increasing attention due to its potential for human-to-human transmission and its recent resurgence in multiple countries throughout Europe, North America, and Oceania. The disease has emerged as a novel threat to the global health systems that are still striving to recover from the major shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic. The unusual manifestation of the illness highlights a substantial knowledge deficit and necessitates the immediate development of a public health action strategy, considering the epidemiological differences observed in the ongoing outbreak and the appearance of cases in non-endemic nations. This literature review aims to synthesize existing knowledge on monkeypox, encompassing its historical context, etiology, epidemiology, surveillance, prevention, transmission, clinical presentation, diagnosis, treatments, and recent outbreak. Particular attention is given to both advances and gaps in our understanding of monkeypox, and we point toward future directions for research and intervention efforts as pertains to vaccine development and distribution. Lastly, we will also review the recent outbreak through a sociopolitical lens as relates to decision-making strategies, especially given the lessons learned from COVID-19.

Keywords: Orthopoxvirus; cross-reactivity; lessons from COVID-19; monkeypox virus; pandemic; vaccines; zoonotic diseases.

Publication types

  • Review

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.