As the World Health Organization (WHO) raised its highest level of alert on Saturday over the virulence of the monkeypox epidemic, the European Commission approved the extension of a vaccine from the pharmaceutical group Bavarian Nordic against the spread of the virus, the Danish laboratory announced on Monday July 25.
The authorization from Brussels follows that of the European regulator, the European Medicines Agency (EMA), which had given its agreement on Friday to the extension to monkeypox of the Imvanex vaccine, already authorized since 2013 in the European Union ( EU) against human smallpox.
It also comes after the choice of the WHO, this weekend, to resort only for the seventh time in its history to its highest level of health alert, supposed to trigger a whole series of actions by member countries. At the end of the week, there were more than 16,000 cases, the majority of them on the European continent.
A vaccine already used in the United States against monkeypox
“This monkeypox approval is an example of good cooperation between Bavarian Nordic and European regulators, with a job extension normally taking six to nine months”, welcomed the Danish manufacturer in a press release. The green light from the Commission is valid in all EU member countries as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, the group said.
The Imvanex vaccine is marketed as Jynneos in the United States, where it has been licensed against monkeypox since 2019. This makes it the only licensed vaccine for the prevention of the disease. Bavarian Nordic had announced a new major US order in mid-July, bringing the number of doses ordered in the United States to 7 million. An order for 1.5 million doses by an unidentified European country was also mooted last week.
First detected in humans in 1970, monkeypox is less dangerous and contagious than its cousin human smallpox, eradicated in 1980. Contracted by close contact, it usually heals on its own after two or three weeks.
The disease, which was until now only endemic in a few African countries, is characterized by rashes – which can appear on the genitals or in the mouth – and can be accompanied by bouts of fever, sore throat or pain in the lymph nodes.
In most cases, the patients are men who have sex with men, relatively young, but the WHO has strongly warned against any stigmatization of the patients.
In France, the High Authority for Health declared on Monday for the reimbursement by Medicare of tests, in particular PCR, for the detection of the monkeypox virus, specifying that they should only intervene“in case of persistent doubt after clinical examination”.
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