Monkeypox vaccine maker and WHO ink Latin America deal

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The Danish maker of the only authorised monkeypox vaccine said Wednesday it had signed a deal with the World Health Organization (WHO) to facilitate distribution in Latin America and the Caribbean.

"Deliveries of the vaccines are expected to begin in September," Bavarian Nordic said in a statement, as the company seeks to boost production to meet high global demand for the vaccine.

The agreement with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)—the WHO's regional office for the Americas—will "facilitate equitable access to the company's monkeypox vaccine for countries in Latin America and the Caribbean", Bavarian Nordic said.

A surge in monkeypox infections has been reported since early May outside the endemic African countries.

The WHO declared the situation an international public health emergency on July 23, and some 40,000 cases have now been reported.

The Danish company's , marketed as Imvanex in Europe, Jynneos in the United States and Imvamune in Canada, is a third-generation serum (a live vaccine that does not replicate in the ).

The vaccine was designed against smallpox in adults, a disease considered eradicated some 40 years ago, and was subsequently approved for use against monkeypox.

Bavarian Nordic recently announced agreements to sell additional doses to the United States and Europe, though the company has not disclosed all the details of the orders it has received.

Last week, the laboratory announced an agreement with US vaccine maker Grand River Aseptic Manufacturing (GRAM) to boost its US amid worldwide concerns about the risk of a shortage.

GRAM's production is due to begin by the end of the year, it said.

Most people recover from monkeypox within several weeks and the disease has only been fatal in rare cases. Symptoms include lesions, eruptions on the face, palms or soles, scabs, fever, muscle ache and chills.

A large majority of cases have been transmitted by men having sex with men, but the WHO has warned against any stigmatisation of those afflicted and against the belief that the illness only affects homosexuals.

© 2022 AFP

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