Smallpox of monkeys: the vaccine is already being administered in the UK, France is thinking about it

Although several experts believe that monkeypox is not a particularly dangerous disease, health authorities in various states are starting to implement contrast measures that recall those already implemented in relation to Covid-19. If in recent days they have been discussing the choices made in Belgium, where the quarantine for monkeypox positives has been imposed, now the United Kingdom is capturing attention, where the vaccine is already being administered, which is offered to close contacts of people diagnosed with the condition. “The vaccination of high-risk contacts is underway”, reads the website of the United Kingdom Health Safety Agency (UKHSA), which states that “as of 10:00 on 23 May 2022, over 1,000 doses of Imvanex ”(the monkeypox vaccine)“ have been provided, or are about to be, to the NHS facilities ”. However, France may soon be pursuing a similar path, with the National Health Authority (Has) which on Tuesday recommended “the implementation of a reactive vaccination strategy, or around a confirmed case “.

The recommendation of the National Health Authority, which although not a government body is concerned with “carrying out specific tasks on which it reports to the government and parliament”, could lead to the adoption in France of this health policy. Her opinion, in fact, was issued after the request made by Direction générale de la santé (one of the Directorates General of the French Ministry of Health) to “specify the vaccination strategy to be implemented to reduce human transmission of the virus”. Well, in the light of this request, the Has has made it known that it believes it should proceed with one “Reactive vaccination strategy” given the “disease incubation times, often between 6 and 16 days”. The vaccine – only “third generation” (which is Imvanex) – should be given to adults whose contact with an infected person is considered to be at risk of exposing them to the virus, including healthcare professionals. In particular, the recommendation is to inject the vaccine within 4 days after the “risky contact” or in any case at the latest in the following 14 days. The vaccination scheme would also include two doses (three for immunocompromised patients) administered 28 days apart. In addition, the Has stresses the importance of having early data on the efficacy and safety of a booster dose in people vaccinated against human smallpox in childhood: the vaccine against smallpox, in fact, was mandatory in the past. in France, which is why there are people undergoing it.

However, despite the old smallpox vaccines according to health authorities could also be protective against the monkey variant, the Danish company Bavarian Nordicmanufacturer of the only specific vaccine against monkeypox, seems to be ready to increase its turnover thanks to the sale of the product in question. After the company announced in recent days that it had already “secured a contract with an undisclosed European country for the supply of its smallpox vaccine IMVANEX® “, yesterday announced that it had entered into a “supply contract with an unknown country for the company’s smallpox vaccine with the aim of ensuring a sufficient supply to meet the country’s requirements relating to vaccination of individuals with risk of monkeypox in the short and medium term ”. “Although the terms of the agreement remain confidential, the order will have a positive impact on the Company’s financial guidelines for 2022”, adds the Bavarian Nordic, also specifying to be “Currently in dialogue with many other governments regarding vaccine supply to mitigate the current monkeypox epidemic and to explore long-term collaboration opportunities to build supplies for future preparedness. ” Dialogue that more and more European countries will probably be interested in having, given that the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has already communicated that “the vaccination of high-risk close contacts should be considered after an evaluation of the risk-benefit ratio “.

[di Raffaele De Luca]

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