Watchdog recommends monkeypox vaccine approval

On Friday, the European Union Drug Control Service recommended for approval the use of a smallpox vaccine for the treatment of monkeypox, which can be classified World Health Organization as a global health emergency.

“The EMA Committee on Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) has recommended expanding the indications for the Imvanex smallpox vaccine to include adult protection against monkeypox,” the European Medicines Agency said in a statement.

Imvanex, developed by Danish drugmaker Bavarian Nordic, has been approved in the EU since 2013 for the prevention of smallpox.

It was also considered a potential monkeypox vaccine due to the similarity between monkeypox virus and smallpox virus.

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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 for five days.

The rash subsequently appears on the face, palms of the hands, and soles of the feet, followed by lesions, spots, and finally scabs.

On Thursday, monkeypox experts debated whether the WHO should classify the outbreak as a global health emergency — the highest alert it can sound.

This was the second meeting of the WHO emergency committee on the virus, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and it was convened after almost 15,400 cases were reported from 71 countries.

A surge in monkeypox infections has been reported since early May outside West and Central Africa, where the disease has long been endemic.

The CHMP EMA conducts a scientific evaluation of the application and makes a recommendation on whether the drug should be marketed or not.

However, under EU law, the EMA does not have the authority to actually allow marketing across the EU.

The European Commission is the sanctioning body and takes a legally binding decision based on the EMA recommendation.