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European Medicines Agency recommends use of smallpox vaccine against monkeypox

DUBLIN: The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has recommended the use of smallpox vaccines against monkeypox. The smallpox vaccine Imvanex can protect adults from monkeypox disease, the EU’s Medicines Agency has said. The viral infection continues to spread worldwide, with more than 15,000 cases reported from 71 countries.

The EMA’s human medicines committee has reccomended Imvanex as a vaccine for monkeypox is because of the similarity between the monkeypox virus and the smallpox virus. Imvanex has been approved in the European Union since 2013.

Monkeypox is similar to smallpox, which was first identified in humans in 1970 and eradicated in 1980. But the latest is less dangerous and contagious than the previous one.

A World Health Organisation committee convened yesterday to discuss whether monkeypox should classify as a global health emergency. But no such announcement has been made yet.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said many of the cases have been transmitted among gay and bisexual men. There is a “very real concern that men who have sex with men could be stigmatised or blamed for the outbreak, making the outbreak much harder to track, and to stop”, he said.

The HSE entered into a bilateral agreement with Bavarian Nordic to supply Imvanex for off-label use against the disease. It also secured an additional supply of vaccines against monkeypox, which had been centrally procured by the European Commission’s Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA).

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