Serum may import monkeypox vaccines – a look at some approved vaccines for treatment

With more than 16,000 cases of monkeypox reported worldwide, countries have begun purchasing and administering vaccines to limit the spread of the infection.

There has been no update of monkeypox vaccines from the Indian Ministry of Health. However, Serum Institute of India (SII) CEO Adar Poonawalla said recently that his company is in talks with the North Danish Bavarian company to import a small batch of vaccines.

“In the case of cooperation, it may take two to three months to import the vaccine into the country,” Poonawala was quoted as saying in an interview with NDTV news channel.

India has reported four cases of monkeypox virus so far – three in Kerala and one in Delhi. Speaking about the start of local development of the vaccine, Poonawala said the SII will have to wait and watch for a few months to assess the real demand scenario.

Monkeypox vaccines now circulating

While India has not yet recommended or established guidelines for the monkeypox vaccination, several other countries have started procuring vaccines for the same. Smallpox vaccines are said to be effective against monkeypox as well.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said: “Vaccination against smallpox has been shown by several observational studies to be 85% effective in preventing monkeypox.”

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), JYNNEOS is a specific vaccine to prevent smallpox and monkeypox in adults 18 years of age and older who are at increased risk of monkeypox infection.

JYNNEOS is manufactured by the North Bavarian Danish company. Currently, this is the only FDA-approved vaccine to prevent monkeypox. It is a two-dose vaccine (0.5 ml each) to be taken for four weeks. Subjects are considered fully vaccinated about two weeks after their second shot of JYNNEOS.

The Food and Drug Administration notes that “vaccinating with JYNNEOS may not protect all recipients.” In 2019, the health agency said, “JYNEOS will be available to those who have been shown to be at risk of developing smallpox or monkeypox.”

Not only did the United States, but other countries, including Israel, France, and the European Union, began buying monkeypox vaccines. Danish biotech company Bavarian Nordic said the European Commission has allowed its Imvanex vaccine to be marketed as protection against monkeypox, as recommended by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) last week. The vaccine is available in the United States under the brand name Jynneos. It is also approved in Canada under the name MVA-BN.

The World Health Organization said two other vaccines, LC16 and ACAM2000, are being studied for use against monkeypox. ACAM2000 is a vaccine “licensed by the Food and Drug Administration for use against smallpox; permitted for use against monkeypox under the Expanded Access IND, which requires informed consent with additional forms submitted,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Moreover, there is only one antiviral treatment authorized in the European Union – Tecovirimat – the European Medicines Agency. It is also authorized to treat smallpox and cowpox.

Monkeypox vaccination in India

India was declared free of smallpox in the late 1970s, after which it stopped manufacturing vaccines and children born after that were not given with it. This puts millennials and generations after them at greater risk.

“Currently, the original (first generation) smallpox vaccines are no longer available to the general public,” the WHO said.

Experts believe that mass vaccination is not required. A World Health Organization official stressed that mass vaccination is not necessary, but the World Health Organization has recommended post-exposure vaccination.

“The vaccine should be shared according to public health needs, country by country, and location by location,” Dr. Rosamund Lewis, WHO technical official on monkeypox, was quoted as saying.

Dr. Lewis said universal vaccination is not required, but the World Health Organization has recommended post-exposure vaccination. “Vaccine sharing should be done according to public health needs, country by country, and location by location. And not all regions have the same epidemiology,” she explained.

(Edited by: Akrit Anand)

First posted: IST

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