Smallpox, Monkeypox Outbreak: WHO Calls for Global Audit of Jabs

After many cases of monkeypox have been reported in non-endemic countries in the last three weeks and their number is continuing to rise, several countries that have stockpiled doses of smallpox and monkeypox vaccines and treatments were called by the World Health Organization to fairly distribute the doses where they are now most needed.

Although smallpox – a virus in the same family as monkeypox but more deadly – has been eradicated since 1978, the virus is still stored in certain laboratories for scientific reasons, keeping some countries on their toes when it comes to retaining jabs for health security.

Around 200 cases of monkeypox have been reported in over 20 non-endemic countries, including in Europe and North America, so the WHO urged the countries to help with such medical countermeasures considering they’ve built up their own emergency supplies of jabs to protect against possible future smallpox outbreaks.

The European Union has also confirmed that it’s in talks to buy monkeypox vaccines and treatments through HERA, its Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority.

The WHO is now keen to find out what global supplies are available of the several existing types of vaccine for smallpox and one jab for monkeypox.

The first-generation smallpox vaccine LC16m8 has been followed by Microgene and ACAM200, the second and third-generation smallpox jabs, and the most recent MVA (Modified Vaccinia Virus Ankara) vaccine, Bavarian Nordic’s Imvanex, has been the only one approved for use for monkeypox in the US and Canada.

Although in the EU it only has the smallpox license, it has been already used off-label by some countries to protect high-risk close contacts of monkeypox cases.

The WHO’s director of epidemic and pandemic preparedness and prevention, Sylvie Briand, pointed out that there are several questions that need to be answered by some countries that have a stockpile of the first generation of vaccine, such as the quantities available, the size of their stockpiles as well the potency of those jabs.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.