Monkeypox: A meeting of the WHO’s emergency committee on the global spread of the virus will be held this Thursday

The only laboratory to manufacture a vaccine already approved specifically against monkeypox, the Danish Bavarian Nordic saw orders soar with the outbreak of the virus, but ensures that it can honor them all.

“The approval (from the American health authorities) received in 2019 (…) suddenly became very, very relevant for international health”, smiles, at the headquarters of the biotech in the port of Copenhagen, its vice-president Rolf Sass Sorensen.

Surprised by the spread of the disease outside the eleven countries of West and Central Africa where it is endemic, Mr. Sass Sørensen nevertheless assures that he can meet demand, even with a single production plant.

“With the current demand, we can easily supply the global market. We have a few million doses in bulk, we can put them in bottles and ensure that the current epidemic is treated, ”he explains to AFP.

Bavarian Nordic has an annual production capacity of 30 million doses at its factory north of the Nordic capital.

Its smallpox vaccine is a 3rd generation serum, i.e. a non-replicating live vaccine (which does not replicate in the human body), marketed under the name Imvanex in Europe where it has been authorized since 2013, from Jynneos in the United States. United and Imvamune in Canada.

Many stocks

First indicated against smallpox in adults, a disease considered eradicated for about forty years, the treatment requires two doses.

According to Mr Sass Sørensen, the vaccine is “in stock in many countries” and it can be applied before or after being exposed to the disease.

“If you are vaccinated a few days after being exposed, you can also be protected,” he points out.

After getting the green light from US authorities three years ago, Bavarian Nordic is working to extend its European registration for monkeypox.

Within the EU, the Hera health authority (created in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic) has purchased nearly 100,000 vaccines which will be made available to the Twenty-Seven as well as to Norway and Germany. ‘Iceland.

First deliveries are expected by the end of June for priority countries, European authorities said.

The United States also announced that it had replenished its stocks with 500,000 additional doses in addition to 100 million units of another smallpox vaccine from French company Sanofi. Canada and Denmark have done the same.

Apart from these announcements, the Danish laboratory jealously protects the nationality of its sponsors.

“We do not reveal the names of countries but we have requests from all over the world: United States, European countries, Asian countries, the Middle East”, affirms Mr. Sass Sørensen.

The amounts of the contracts have also not been made public but, for Bavarian Nordic, this is a windfall which has enabled it to raise its forecasts for 2022 four times in three weeks.

No mass vaccination

Despite the exponential rise in cases, the WHO does not recommend “mass” vaccination at this stage.

In France, the High Authority for Health has recommended administering a single dose of vaccine to people who are contacts at risk and vaccinated against smallpox before 1980, except for immunocompromised people.

The United States is counting on the vaccination of contact cases.

An anti-smallpox drug, tecovirimat, produced by the Siga laboratory, was approved by the EMA for monkeypox earlier this year, but it is not yet widely available.

Most often mild, the disease usually disappears spontaneously, after two to three weeks of flu-like symptoms followed by rashes.

From January 1 to June 15, more than 2,103 cases and one death have been reported to WHO in 42 countries. Europe is at the center of the spread of the virus, with 1,773 confirmed cases, or 84% of the global total.

Apart from the smallpox vaccine, Bavarian Nordic also produces vaccines against tick-borne encephalitis, rabies, Ebola and develops serums against Covid-19 and RSV respiratory viruses.

Leave a Comment