The European Union has decided to jointly purchase a vaccine and an antiviral against monkey pox. That said the Swedish vaccine coordinator Richard Bergström on Friday to the Swedish newspaper Today’s news† The Netherlands has sufficient vaccines and is therefore not participating in the group purchase.
According to the newspaper, it concerns the vaccine Imvanex and the antiviral drug Tecovirimat. Imvanex is produced by the German company Nordic and Tecovirimat by the American company SIGA Technologies.
The EU has not yet signed contracts with the pharmaceutical companies, but this could happen soon, according to Bergström. “We should have a contract in about a week,” he told the newspaper. “And maybe already some limited deliveries in June.”
The Netherlands still has sufficient doses of Imvanex in stock and is not participating in the purchase. The vaccines are primarily intended for, for example, care providers who come into contact with patients.
The joint procurement was prompted by the European procurement of corona vaccines, which many Member States look back on with satisfaction. Belgium has already signed up. The country is entitled to 1,250 of the 50,000 doses that the EU plans to purchase.
‘Quick action required for a successful approach’
Imvanex is a vaccine against smallpox, to which monkeypox is closely related. The vaccine is approved in the US for the prevention of both smallpox and monkeypox. In the EU, Imvanex is only approved for the control of smallpox, although doctors can also prescribe it for monkeypox patients.
Earlier Friday, the health organization WHO said that “rapid action” is required to successfully tackle monkey pox in countries where the virus has been around for a longer period of time. The WHO does not consider mass vaccination necessary at the moment, but targeted vaccination for people who have been in contact with infected persons is important. “Investigation, contact tracing and home isolation are the best means now,” said WHO official Rosamund Lewis.
More than 200 suspected and confirmed cases of monkeypox have been diagnosed in more than 20 countries outside Africa since early May. That reports news agency Reuters. The variant causing the current outbreak has a fatality rate of about 1 percent. So far, no deaths have been reported.
Twelve infections with the monkeypox virus have been identified in the Netherlands, the RIVM reports. If you’ve tested positive, you’ll need to stay in isolation until all symptoms have resolved.