US, World Turning To Vaccines To Tackle Monkeypox Outbreak

"Monkeypox, a potentially lethal disease responsible for an alarming rise in cases in North America and Europe over the past three weeks, is primarily spreading through sex between men, according to the World Health Organization." – Fortune, May 23, 2022

“[P]revious criticisms of Dr. Anthony Fauci may make it more difficult for him to lead certain segments of the public through a larger monkeypox outbreak.” – NEWSWEEK, 5/23/22

KAISER HEALTH NEWS – There is no monkeypox-specific vaccine, but an already-approved smallpox shot is effective against it.

The U.S. has more than 1,000 doses of the Jynneos vaccine in stock and is releasing some.

Jynneos’ maker, Denmark’s Bavarian Nordic A/S, is also making more. Other smallpox shots, stockpiled by the million, are not yet U.S.-approved against monkeypox.

NBC News: Smallpox Vaccines Can Protect Against Monkeypox, And U.S. Has 100 Million Doses

When Covid-19 struck, humanity faced an out-of-control outbreak without vaccines or therapies. If it were a knife fight, we brought a crayon. The level of preparedness for monkeypox couldn’t be more different. …

The U.S. keeps two vaccines for smallpox approved by the Food and Drug Administration in the Strategic National Stockpile — a product, in part, of a 9/11-enhanced fear of bioterrorism.

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The monkeypox virus is similar enough that researchers expect both shots to offer protection, although only one, called Jynneos, has been FDA-approved for use against monkeypox. (Bush and Bendix, 5/23)

Reuters: U.S. Health Officials Releasing Some Jynneos Vaccine Doses For Monkeypox -CDC

U.S. health officials are in the process of releasing some Jynneos vaccine doses for use in monkeypox cases, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Monday. …

There are more than 100 million doses of an older smallpox vaccine, ACAM2000, which has some significant side effects, the officials told reporters.

ACAM2000 was previously produced by Sanofi and is now made by Emergent BioSolutions. (5/23)

“As of writing, there have been more than 100 cases of monkeypox virus detected in about 20 countries. The cases are mostly in Europe, including Spain, Portugal, the UK, and Germany, and have also been reported in Canada, the United States, Argentina, Israel and Australia.” – COSMOS, May 25, 2022

The Wall Street Journal: Smallpox Vaccine Enters Wider Production Amid Monkeypox Outbreak

Danish vaccine maker Bavarian Nordic A/S is making more of a smallpox vaccine typically stockpiled in case of biological warfare, as governments seek doses that also offer protection against monkeypox amid an unusual outbreak around the world. …

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There is no vaccine directed specifically against monkeypox. But smallpox vaccines like Bavarian Nordic’s shot, known as Jynneos in the U.S., have been shown in studies to be at least 85% at preventing monkeypox, which is closely related to smallpox but much less severe. (Roland, 5/23 )

“While monkeypox is not new to science and it has relatively low transmissibility, there is justification for growing concern about the infections.” – COSMOS, May 25, 2022

The New York Times: As Monkeypox Cases Rise, Nations Are Urged To Examine Vaccine Stores

The U.S. emergency stockpile holds two vaccines approved by the Food and Drug Administration that could be used to contain monkeypox, officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told reporters on Monday. The stockpile contains more than 100 million doses of the original smallpox vaccine. But that vaccine is associated with side effects and shouldn’t be given to certain patients, including those who are immuno-compromised. (Mandavilli, 5/23)

European nations take stock of their smallpox vaccines —

Stat: European Health Agency Warns Monkeypox Could Become Endemic There
There is a risk that monkeypox could become endemic in Europe if the current outbreak isn’t brought under control and the virus spills back into susceptible animal species, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said Monday as it issued a risk assessment of the unprecedented event.

The health agency said that if person-to-person transmission continues and if the monkeypox virus were to make its way into animal species in the region, it could become entrenched, though it suggested the risk is thought to be “very low.” (Branswell, 5/23)

“CDC officials sound alarm for gay and bisexual men as monkeypox spreads in community” – CNBC, May 23, 2020

Bloomberg: UK Monkeypox Cases Rise As Focus In Europe Turns To Vaccines

As monkeypox cases climb in the UK, European health officials are calling on countries to review the availability of vaccines and step up efforts to identify and report new infections. Countries should check on supplies of smallpox vaccines, antiviral therapies and protective equipment for health workers, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said Monday.

The recommendations come as England reported that cases almost tripled to 56 from 20. The cousin of the smallpox virus has previously been mostly confined to regions in Africa, but health authorities are concerned about cases ticking up in Europe and North America. The World Health Organization had said that 92 cases and 28 suspected cases had been identified in 12 countries outside of those African nations where it is endemic as of May 21. (Paton, 5/23)

Politico: As Monkeypox Cases Rise, European Countries Urged To Take Extra Steps

In the U.K., 1,000 doses of Imvanex have already been administered. Public health authorities are immunizing high-risk contacts of people who have been infected and the country has a 3,500 doses left. Just one drug is also licensed to treat monkeypox in the EU, the EMA said.

The medicine, Tecovirimat from SIGA, can treat smallpox, monkeypox and cowpox — three infections caused by viruses belonging to the orthopoxviruses family. It can also treat complications following vaccination against smallpox. (Collis, 5/23)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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