NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – Experts from the Yale Institute for Global Health gathered other experts Thursday for a panel to discuss the latest on monkeypox. While experts say it does not pose the threat of COVID-19, a researcher from UCLA said the stakes are high.

They talked about possibly rolling out widespread testing and even talked about vaccinating a population. There are currently roughly 1,200 cases of monkeypox worldwide, 39 in the U.S.

“We really are going to have to expand our diagnostic capacity at a local level, at a national level, we’re going to have to make this something that’s very accessible if we really want to be able to capture the cases,” said Dr. Anne Rimoin, a UCLA infectious disease researcher with extensive knowledge and experience with monkeypox.

Yale epidemiologists are already working on accessible monkeypox possible testing. They don’t know if people could be asymptomatic.

“If we can detect this in fluids oral saliva that could be a great test. It would be fantastic to be able to know that so we could roll something like this out,” said Dr. Nathan Grubaugh, an epidemiologist with the Yale School of Public Health.

Monkeypox is fatal in about 3% to 6% of people and is more dangerous in children and people who are immunocompromised.

WEB EXTRA: Yale, UCLA experts discuss monkeypox in virtual panel

Also discussed Thursday was considering how to scale up for the already FDA-approved vaccine for smallpox, and considering priority of who would get them first.

One advantage is that smallpox vaccine works on monkeypox should a determination ever be made to vaccinate, even just a vulnerable population.

Yale immunobiologist Akiko Iwasaki explains its effectiveness.

“Historically the vaccine has been effective in preventing smallpox in 95 percent of those who are vaccinated and against the monkeypox there’s about 85 percent protection against the disease.”

Iwasaki does not believe it is time to vaccinate our population.

The experts do predict that cases will rise, so this discussion on preparation, testing and vaccines will continue to be taken seriously.