On May 18, biotechnology firm Bavarian Nordic in Denmark announced that the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), signed a contract with the company to supply a freeze-dried version of its smallpox and monkeypox vaccine. Allegedly, the freeze-dried version of the vaccine has a longer shelf life.
BARDA placed a $119 million order for 13 million freeze-dried doses of Bavarian Nordic’s smallpox and monkeypox vaccine known as Jynneos. According to the contract, America has the option to purchase additional vaccines worth $180 million as needed.
On May 21, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that over 100 confirmed or suspected cases of monkeypox had been identified in 12 countries.
The timing is rather suspicious, especially since the HHS insists that the reports of monkeypox cases in the U.S. are coincidental with the deal.
“The most recent BARDA purchase of smallpox vaccine was part of a standard and ongoing preparedness efforts and unrelated to specific events. BARDA has worked with industry to develop and purchase vaccines and treatments for a potential smallpox emergency, some of which may also be used to respond to monkeypox,” said a spokesperson for the HHS.
Most of the recorded cases occurred in Europe, with higher numbers in Portugal and Spain. However, the detection of monkeypox cases in Europe and America is rather unusual as the virus has been mostly confined to tropical areas like West or Central Africa.
FDA approved Jynneos smallpox and monkeypox vaccine in 2019
Back in September 24, 2019, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Jynneos, a live, non-replicating smallpox and monkeypox vaccine in people 18 and older “determined to be at high risk for smallpox or monkeypox infection.”
Jynneos is a two-dose vaccine administered four weeks apart. To date, it is the only FDA-approved vaccine in America for monkeypox.
The FDA reported that Jynneos doesn’t contain the viruses that cause smallpox or monkeypox. Instead, it is derived from a vaccinia virus. It is less harmful than variola or monkeypox viruses and it can protect against both diseases.
Jynneos contains a modified form of the vaccinia virus called Modified Vaccinia Ankara, which doesn’t cause disease in humans and is non-replicating. This means the virus can’t reproduce in human cells. (Related: New engineered pandemic: US buys millions of vaccines as monkeypox outbreak hits Europe and North America?)
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smallpox (vaccinia) vaccines can also be used to prevent monkeypox.
Monkeypox belongs to the same family of orthopoxviruses as smallpox (variola). It is a rare viral, zoonotic infectious disease that includes symptoms like back pain, extreme fatigue, a fever, skin rashes, swollen lymph nodes and muscle and body aches that lasts for two to four weeks.
The virus is transmitted through close contact with an infected individual or animal. Transmission may also occur due to contact with material contaminated with the virus.
Person-to-person transmission occurs through close contact with body fluids, open skin lesions, respiratory droplets and contaminated materials like bedding.
The CDC advised that while it remains unclear how the individuals were exposed to monkeypox, some cases include people who self-identify as men who have sex with men. The health agency warned healthcare providers in the country to watch out for patients who have rash illnesses consistent with monkeypox.
The WHO also claims that monkeypox is not as contagious as smallpox and usually causes less severe illness. As of May 26, there are 10 recorded monkeypox/orthopoxvirus cases in America.
On May 18, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) reported that a resident in the state tested positive for monkeypox. The patient, an adult male, was admitted to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. He recently returned from traveling to Canada.
According to an MDPH press release, the hospital is cooperating with the CDC, relevant local boards of health and the patient’s health care providers to identify people who may have been in contact with the patient while he was infectious.
Given the nature and transmission of the virus, the MDPH noted that the contact tracing approach is the most appropriate. The public was also reassured that there is no risk of infection since the man is already hospitalized and in good condition.
Go to BigPharmaNews.com for more articles related to vaccines and monkeypox.
Watch the video below to learn more about monkeypox.
This video is from the Planet Zedta channel on Brighteon.com.
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