‘Window of opportunity’ to stop monkeypox spread may close as vaccine release halts – CNBC

There are growing fears that the monkeypox vaccination campaign could be disrupted amid a shortage of supplies.

Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images

Fears are growing that the window of opportunity to contain the escalating outbreak of monkeypox may be closing, with vaccine shortages leaving some at-risk groups waiting weeks to get a prick.

Health professionals have warned that failure to control the outbreak could lead to it spreading to other groups or species.

The UK’s Health Security Agency said it expects this The first batch of 50,000 vaccines has been implemented Within the next two weeks, you may not receive further doses until September. Meanwhile, other countries with high cases are studying new vaccination methods amid dwindling supplies.

North Bavarian – The only supplier of the only approved monkeypox vaccine – announced on Thursday that it had received that vaccine Signed a deal with contract manufacturer Grand River Aseptic Manufacturing To help complete Jynneos vaccine orders in the US while freeing up capacity for other countries. The process is expected to take about three months to be up and running.

This came on the heels of reports Wednesday that the Danish pharmaceutical company was It is no longer sure that it will be able to meet the increasing demandAccording to Bloomberg.

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

Cases rise 20% in a week

The World Health Organization warned, on Wednesday, of the continued spread of the virus in full swing Cases are up 20% in the past week alone.

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

This has led to a vaccination campaign, especially among advanced economies, aimed at protecting the most vulnerable with either pre- or post-exposure vaccinations. However, shortfalls in vaccine supply and delayed rollout are increasing the risks of a wider outbreak, according to infectious disease specialists.

If the outbreak is stopped, you have a very short chance. At this point, we see this window of opportunity slowly closing.

Professor Eyal Lesham

Infectious Diseases Specialist at Sheba Medical Center

“We know from previous outbreaks that if the outbreak is stopped, you have a very short chance. At this point, we’re seeing that opportunity slowly closing,” Professor Eyal Leshem of Israel’s Sheba Medical Center told CNBC Thursday.

That, in turn, could see the virus spread more easily to other groups or start behaving in different ways, Leshem said.

“As we see more cases, the chance of containing this disease decreases. We may see spread from the current at-risk population to other populations,” he said, referring to close contacts and family members, including children and pets, as vulnerable groups. .

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

Vaccines are not a silver bullet

As countries wait for more vaccine supplies, some are now trying alternative means to protect vulnerable groups.

in Leaked message to the BBCUKHSA said it would hold some remaining stocks only for post-exposure patients, meaning other people seeking preventive care would have to wait.

Elsewhere, Spain – which has the highest number of cases reported for a non-endemic country after the United States – last week Request permission from the European Medicines Agency To give people smaller doses of the vaccine in an effort to spread limited supplies more widely.

Follow Similar dosage reduction plans It is backed by US health regulators, which allows one vial of the vaccine to be given up to five separate shots by injection between the skin rather than under it.

A relatively short and temporary decrease in the rate of vaccine administration may not have a significant effect.

Dr. Jake Dunning

Senior Researcher, University of Oxford

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

“Vaccines are not a panacea,” she said, noting that more data on their efficacy is still needed. The current data comes from a small study conducted in the 1980s, which found smallpox vaccines to be 85% effective in preventing monkeypox.

It recommended that those who believe they are at risk consider “reducing the number of their sexual partners.” [and] Avoid group sex or casual sex.” She added that when someone receives a vaccine, they must also wait until they have had time to produce a maximum immune response before engaging in sexual intercourse, usually for two weeks.

Dr Jake Dunning, chief researcher at the University of Oxford’s Institute of Epidemiology, agreed, noting that the brief drop in vaccines may not necessarily derail broader efforts to combat the virus.

“If it turns out that a significant proportion of people at greater risk of exposure have already been vaccinated, the relatively short and temporary reduction in the rate of vaccine administration may not have a significant impact on achieving the overall goal,” he said. .

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