#Europe #advances #scattered #order #monkeypox
On July 23, the WHO declared the monkeypox outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern.” Almost 17,000 cases have been identified in 75 countries, especially in Europe. But the continent scrambles to counter their progress.
Three-quarters of monkeypox cases have been reported on the European continent. But states have opted for different control measures. Some countries offer preventive vaccination for part of the population, that is, for groups that are -at the moment- especially exposed to the virus: the homosexual community, sex workers and health personnel.
Among the countries that offer this preventive vaccine are Germany, Spain, Portugal, Belgium and France. The latter even adapted its process.
“Initially, the idea was to limit the spread of the virus, particularly within households. We eventually realized that this vaccination of contact cases was not enough to stop the spread of the virus. Therefore, we expanded vaccination to people who are more exposed. The virologist specializing in emerging viruses from the University of Montpellier and the French Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm) Yannick Simonin explained this Tuesday on the RTS program Tout un monde. A vaccination center has also been opened this July 26 in Paris.
No vaccine (yet) for Switzerland
Outside the European Union, the United Kingdom also offers a preventive vaccine. But this is not the case in Switzerland. At the moment, this vaccine is not authorized in our country. Contacted by the RTS, Swissmedic, the Institute for Therapeutic Products, says that it “does not currently have any requests for authorization of medicines to combat smallpox (monkey) and has not received any in recent years.”
Several specialists interviewed by RTS explain that certain markets, such as Switzerland, are too small to be of interest to manufacturers. The Federal Office of Public Health (OFSP) confirms: “In the current situation, it says, the company that produces the vaccine does not enter into the matter for the delivery of small quantities of this vaccine… Therefore, the Confederation evaluates the possibility of a centralized purchase of a larger number of doses”.
>> Read also: More than 180 cases of monkeypox in Switzerland, but the OFSP does not worry
So far there is only one vaccine, known by various names: Imvanex in Europe, manufactured by the Danish company Bavarian Nordic. And the doses seem limited: Spain has received 5,000, Belgium and Portugal just over 3,000. Another shipment is expected in Europe, but it is difficult to know when.
In addition, since the countries that offer preventive vaccination are the most affected by monkeypox, it is understandable that they quickly activated measures to curb the epidemic.
We still do not know all the efficacy data for this vaccine, initially planned against smallpox. According to Yannick Simonin, it also prevents transmission, but at the moment it is difficult to establish an efficiency percentage. “You might as well try it,” said Sylvie Briand, director of the WHO Department of Infectious Risk Management, even if we don’t yet know the exact benefits of the vaccine.
>> Read about it: An existing smallpox vaccine approved to combat monkeypox
“It is now that we must act, to prevent the disease from affecting more fragile populations, such as immunocompromised, pregnant women, very young children. We are trying to vaccinate under ‘research’ conditions, since we take the opportunity to get all the information and data available to see if these vaccines are effective and precisely provide the solution to block the chains of transmission”, pleads Sylvie Briand.
Towards changes in health policy?
Things can change, continues Yannick Simonin. “Some European countries, such as Switzerland, have decided not to vaccinate against monkeypox for the time being, probably in part because some of these vaccines were not yet formally authorized by the European Medicines Agency, something that was done at the end of the week. pass. It remains to be seen how these countries will react to this authorization of the vaccine, as well as to the fact that the World Health Organization has triggered its highest level. This will certainly require a more active reaction from health authorities in several European countries.” .
>> See also the 7:30 pm topic dedicated to the progression of cases in Switzerland: