The World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Tuesday June 14 that it was convening a meeting of its emergency committee on June 23 to assess whether monkeypox represents a “public health emergency of international concern”.
The current surge in cases is “unusual and worrying”said its director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, during a press conference. “We believe the situation requires a coordinated response due to” of the spread of the disease in the world, he also indicated. International experts “will help us better understand the virus”according to him.
So far, more than 1,600 confirmed cases have been reported to WHO in 39 countries, including 32 where the disease is not endemic, the director-general said. According to the WHO, no deaths have been reported in these countries, unlike endemic countries, among which are Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The WHO is currently considering “change the name of the monkeypox virus”. “We will make announcements on the new names as soon as possible,” promised Dr. Tedros on Tuesday. “WHO’s goal is to help countries contain transmission and stop the outbreak through proven public health tools, including surveillance, contact tracing and isolation of infected patients”recalled the director general of the organization.
100,000 doses of vaccines ordered for the EU
WHO on Tuesday released interim guidance on the use of smallpox vaccines for monkeypox. She does not recommend at this stage a vaccination ” massive “. “Any decision whether or not to use vaccines must be made (…) based on a risk-benefit assessment, on a case-by-case basis”believes the organization.
“It is essential that vaccines are equitably available where they are needed”however, underlined its director general, specifying that the WHO was working with its member states and partners to develop a mechanism for equitable access to vaccines and treatments.
For its part, the European Commission announced on Tuesday the conclusion of a contract for the purchase of more than 100,000 doses of vaccines against monkeypox. The agreement covers the supply of 109,090 doses of vaccines on behalf of European countries, the Commission said in a press release. It is inspired by the group purchases of anti-Covid vaccines but concerns much smaller quantities.
Marketed under the name Imvanex in Europe, Jynneos in the United States and Imvamune in Canada, it is a vaccine of 3e generation (non-replicating live vaccine, that is to say that does not replicate in the human body) authorized in Europe since 2013 and indicated against smallpox in adults. The European drug regulator announced in early June that it had started discussions with Bavarian Nordic, the laboratory that has the vaccine, to possibly extend its use against monkeypox.