LONDON (AP) — The European Medicines Agency is studying whether a smallpox vaccine made by the Bavarian Nordic company can be licensed for monkeypox amid an outbreak of the disease on the continent.
In a press release on Tuesday, the EMA noted that the vaccine — known as Imvanex in Europe and Jynneos in the United States — has already been approved by US regulators for use against monkeypox.
In Europe, the vaccine has been licensed in adults for the prevention of smallpox, which is related to monkeypox.
“The decision to initiate this review is based on the results of laboratory tests according to which the vaccine causes the production of antibodies that fight the monkeypox virus,” the EMA said. He added that there is very little stock of the vaccine in Europe.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are currently more than 4,300 cases of monkeypox worldwide, most of them in Europe.
The vast majority of cases have been in gay or bisexual men or others who have had sex with other men.
Several countries including Britain, Germany and the United States have already begun vaccinating those most susceptible to monkeypox against smallpox. Although the disease has been endemic in parts of Africa for decades, no vaccines have been used there.
Most people with monkeypox experience only fever, body aches, chills, and fatigue. More severe cases can include a rash or lesions on the hands and face that can spread to other parts of the body.
Most people with monkeypox recover within a few weeks without needing medical attention, but the disease can affect more vulnerable populations such as pregnant women and children.
The World Health Organization last week declined to declare a global emergency over monkeypox but said it is working on a vaccine-sharing mechanism, despite claims rich countries will hoard supplies.
Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.