The European Union is working on a general purchase agreement for vaccines and antivirals against monkeypox, as the incidence of viral diseases usually collects steam locally in Africa, in Europe and beyond.
A broad consensus has been reached in principle with member states for the Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA) to seek medical redress for them as soon as possible, a spokesman for the European Commission confirmed to Reuters, confirming a report in the Swedish daily Dagens Niether.
The paper quoted Swedish vaccine coordinator Richard Bergstrom as saying that the European Union was in talks to buy Bavarian Nordic vaccine Imvanex, developed by US-based SIGA Technologies, as well as antiviral, Tecovirimet.
Bergstrom said no agreement has yet been signed with the agency.
“But it will go away quickly. We should prepare a deal within a week and there may be some limited delivery in June,” the newspaper quoted him as saying.
A Bavarian Nordic spokesman confirmed that HERA had contacted the Danish biotechnology company about its vaccine.
“We’ve had a number of calls with HERA … we don’t know when an agreement will be reached. It is not up to us to say when an agreement will be reached – there are two parties involved,” the spokesman said.
If an agreement is reached, the Bavarian Nordic will have enough supplies to meet demand, he added.
Chickenpox and monkeypox viruses are closely related.
The Bavarian Nordic vaccine has official European approval for smallpox, although physicians may prescribe it off-label for monkeypox.
SIGA’s treatment Tecovirimet – also known as TPOXX – has European approvals for smallpox, monkeypox and cowpox.
Global health officials have detected more than 200 suspected and confirmed virus infections in about 20 countries since the beginning of May.
Symptoms of monkeypox – which may include fever, distinct rashes, and pus-filled skin lesions – may last two to four weeks but often resolve on their own.
The form of the virus involved in the current outbreak is believed to kill a small portion of those infected.
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