By Asmau Ahmad
The European Commission has approved a monkeypox vaccine after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared monkeypox a global health emergency, the Danish drugmaker that developed the vaccine said on Monday.
“The European Commission has extended the marketing authorization for the company’s smallpox vaccine, Imvanex, to include protection against monkeypox,” in line with a recommendation from the EU medicines watchdog, Bavarian Nordic said in a statement.
“The approval is valid in all member states of the European Union, as well as in Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.”
On Saturday, the WHO declared the monkeypox outbreak, which has affected almost 16,000 people in 72 countries, a global health emergency, the highest alarm that can be sounded.
Imvanex has been approved in the EU since 2013 for the prevention of smallpox.
A potential vaccine for monkeypox was also considered due to the similarity between the monkeypox virus and the smallpox virus.
Monkeypox is less dangerous and contagious than smallpox, which was eradicated in 1980.
The first symptoms of monkeypox are fever, headaches, muscle aches, and back pain over the course of five days.
Later eruptions appear on the face, palms of the hands and soles of the feet, followed by lesions, spots and finally scabs.
An increase in monkeypox infections since early May has been reported outside West and Central African countries, where the disease has long been endemic.
The EMA carries out a scientific evaluation of medicines and gives a recommendation on whether or not a medicine should be marketed.
However, under EU law, the EMA does not have the authority to allow marketing in the different EU countries.
The European Commission is the body that authorizes and makes a legally binding decision based on the EMA recommendation.