Availability and efficacy of monkeypox vaccine

Availability and efficacy of monkeypox vaccine

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Paris (AFP) – The smallpox vaccine that has been shown to protect against monkeypox has been in huge global demand, leading health authorities to warn of a repeat of the uneven distribution seen during the Covid pandemic.

While monkeypox has long been endemic in parts of West and Central Africa, since May there have been outbreaks worldwide.

And it caused a scramble for doses of the only approved monkeypox vaccine worldwide, which is produced by the Danish North Bavarian pharmaceutical company.

Below is the current status on vaccine efficacy and availability.

– Approximately 85% protection –

Called MVA-BN and marketed as Jynneos in the United States and Imvanex in Europe, the vaccine was originally developed to combat smallpox.

Both viruses are part of the orthopoxvirus family.

The proteins of monkeypox and smallpox virus are 90-95% similar, said Olivier Schwartz, head of the immunology and virology unit at France’s Pasteur Institute.

“So using a very similar vaccine to prevent it is a proven strategy,” he said.

Although there is no extensive data yet on the protection of the Bavaria-Scandinavian vaccine against monkeypox, previous research has indicated that it is highly effective.

“The vaccine protection figure of 85 percent is due to field studies in the 1980s and 1990s in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and is very approximate,” Schwartz said.

He added that studies conducted in health care workers in 2018 and trials with macaques indicated that the vaccine could be effective even after the patient had contracted monkeypox.

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And people who took a dose of the smallpox vaccine before 1980 also had some immunity to monkeypox, although its prevalence and duration remain uncertain.

Schwartz said studies during the 2000s found that about 30 percent of those vaccinated two decades ago still had antibodies against smallpox.

He added that a booster dose would “reactivate cellular immunity, even after 20 to 40 years.”

But Yannick Simonin, a virologist at the University of Montpellier, cautioned that immunity “decreases over time and the persistence of neutralizing antibodies against monkeypox has never been evaluated”.

350,000 doses for an ‘undeclared’ nation

The northern Bavarian region partnered with US health authorities in 2003 and has already supplied 30 million doses to the country.

Since the monkeypox virus began spreading outside Africa in May, the company has said it will deliver an additional seven million doses to the United States.

There are about 16 million doses of the vaccine worldwide, most of them in bulk, meaning it will take months before it is ready for use, according to the World Health Organization.

It has been difficult to determine the exact number of stocks held by countries, which have at times refused to disclose the numbers – to the chagrin of some NGOs and politicians.

Northern Bavaria, which can produce up to 30 million doses a year, has also been reluctant to reveal where it will send them.

The company announced on Wednesday that it will provide 350,000 doses to an “undisclosed” country in the Asia-Pacific region.

Two other smallpox vaccines, ACAM2000 and LC16, are currently being studied to determine their efficacy against monkeypox.

The United States currently has more than 100 million stored doses of ACAM2000, but it is believed to cause more side effects than new generation vaccines.

Emergent BioSolutions, which makes ACAM2000, told AFP it can currently produce more than 18 million doses a year — and could increase to 40 million a year if needed.

– ‘We want justice’ –

Despite being the continent that battled monkeypox for a long time, Africa has yet to receive any doses of the vaccine.

There are more than 3,000 confirmed cases of monkeypox in Africa this year, while doctors say about 70 deaths are linked to the disease.

The World Health Organization has invited countries with vaccines to participate, urging the world not to repeat the inequality in access to Covid vaccines between rich and poor countries.

Meg Doherty, director of the World Health Organization’s global programs to combat HIV, hepatitis and sexually transmitted diseases, said on Sunday that 35 countries have requested the monkeypox vaccine.

Speaking at a meeting at the International AIDS Conference in Montreal, she said there was a “significant risk” that it was rich countries that required the doses.

“We want shares,” she added.

#Availability #efficacy #monkeypox #vaccine

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