Monkeypox vaccine stalled increases risk of spread, wider outbreak

There is growing concern that smallpox vaccination of monkeys could be delayed amid supply shortages.

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Concerns are growing that the window of opportunity to stop the escalating monkeypox epidemic may be closing, with vaccine shortages leaving some at-risk groups waiting weeks to be vaccinated.

Health experts have warned that if the outbreak is not controlled, it could spread to other populations or species.

The UK Health Security Agency has said it hopes to Out of the original batch of 50,000 vaccines within the next two weeks, and may not receive the next dose until September. Meanwhile, other high-prevalence countries are looking at new vaccination methods amid dwindling supplies.

Bavarian Nordic – the sole supplier of the only approved vaccine for monkeypox – announced Thursday that it has contracted with contract manufacturer Grand River Aseptic Manufacturing to help fulfill their Jynneos vaccine orders in the United States while freeing up capacity for other countries. The process is expected to take about three months to get up and running.

Following Wednesday’s report that the Danish pharmaceutical company has no longer sure it can meet the growing demandaccording to Bloomberg.

More than 35,000 cases of monkeypox have so far been confirmed in 92 epidemic-free countries since the first case was reported in the UK on May 6. 12 people have died.

Cases increased by 20% in a week

The World Health Organization on Wednesday warned that the spread of the virus is continuing, with The number of cases increased by 20% in the past week alone.

While anyone can be infected with monkeypox, the majority of cases to date have been confirmed in gay and bisexual men who have sex with other men.

That has fueled a trend toward vaccination, especially in advanced economies, to protect the most vulnerable with pre- or post-exposure vaccination. However, vaccine shortages and delayed deployment are increasing the risk of a broader outbreak, infectious disease experts say.

If an outbreak has to stop, you have a very short chance. At this point, we see this window of opportunity slowly closing.

Professor Eyal Lesham

infectious disease specialist, Sheba . Medical Center

Professor Eyal Leshem of Israel’s Sheba Medical Center told CNBC on Thursday: “We know from previous outbreaks, we know that if an outbreak is contained, then you have a chance. very short. At this point, we see this opportunity closing.”

According to Leshem, that could make it easier for the virus to spread to other groups or start acting in different ways.

“As we see more cases, the risk of this disease goes down. We can see spillovers from the current population at risk to another population,” he said. name close contacts and family members, including children and pets, as potentially vulnerable groups.

The first known case in an animal outbreak of monkeypox from humans was reported earlier this week in Paris.

Vaccines ‘not a silver bullet’

As countries await further vaccine supplies, some are now trying alternative measures to protect vulnerable groups.

In one leaked letter to BBCUKHSA says it will hold some remaining stock entirely for post-exposure patients, meaning others seeking preventive care will have to wait.

Elsewhere, Spain – which has the most reported cases of a country with no outbreak after the US – last week have requested permission from the European Medicines Agency to give people smaller doses of the vaccine in order to spread the limited supply more widely.

It follows similar dosage savings plans Supported by U.S. health regulators, one vial of the vaccine is given up to 5 separate doses by intradermal injection rather than subcutaneous injection.

The relatively brief and temporary drop in vaccination coverage may not have a major impact.

Dr. Jake Dunning

Senior Researcher, University of Oxford

However, WHO technical team leader on monkeypox, Dr Rosamund Lewis, on Wednesday said vaccines should not be considered the only form of protection against the virus.

“Vaccines are not a silver bullet,” she said, noting that more data is still needed on their effectiveness. The current data come from a small study in the 1980s, which showed that the smallpox vaccine was 85% effective at preventing smallpox in monkeys.

She recommends that people who believe they are at risk consider “reducing their number of sexual partners [and] avoid group sex or casual sex. “If and when someone gets the vaccine, they should also wait until it has had time to produce a maximum immune response before having sex, which is usually two weeks,” she added.

Dr Jake Dunning, a senior researcher at the University of Oxford’s Institute of Pandemic Sciences, agrees, noting that short-term discontinuation of vaccination may not necessarily falsify efforts. broader to fight the virus.

“If indeed a large proportion of those most at risk of exposure are vaccinated, then a relatively short and temporary reduction in vaccination rates may not have a major impact on achieving the target,” he said. common spending. .

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