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Explained: What vaccines, treatments do we have to combat Monkeypox virus?

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Google Oneindia News

Washington, May 26: Over the past few days, several European and North American countries have reported cases of Monkeypox.

Global health officials have tracked more than 200 suspected and confirmed cases of the usually mild viral infection in 19 countries since early May.

Explained: What vaccines, treatments do we have to combat Monkeypox virus?

Some cases have been identified through sexual health clinics in communities of gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men. It is important to note that the risk of monkeypox is not limited to men who have sex with men. Anyone who has close contact with someone who is infectious is at risk.

The monkeypox variant implicated in the current outbreak has a case fatality rate of around 1%.

However, the biggest question, as cases jump globally, remains is there a vaccines or treatment for the viral infection?

Several countries are planning to stock up the existing smallpox vaccines that are reportedly 85 per cent effective against the monkeypox virus.

However, the WHO said it does not believe the monkeypox outbreak outside of Africa requires mass vaccinations as measures like good hygiene and safe sexual behaviour will help control its spread.

Vaccines

World Health Organization has said the first generation of smallpox vaccines appear up to 85% effective in preventing monkeypox as both viruses are closely related.

Currently, we have two smallpox vaccines available: 1) Jynneos/Imvamune/ Imvanex made by Bavarian Nordic and 2) ACAM2000 by Emergent Biosolutions.

Antiviral drugs

According to a study of seven patients diagnosed with the rare viral disease in the UK between 2018 and 2021, some antiviral medications might have the potential to shorten symptoms of monkeypox and reduce the amount of time a patient is contagious

In a paper in the scientific journal The Lancet Infectious Diseases, the research also reported the patient response to the first off-label use of two different antiviral medications -- brincidofovir and tecovirimat -- to treat the disease.

There are currently no licensed treatments for monkeypox and there is limited data on the duration of its contagiousness, with the incubation period ranging from five to 21 days.

Researchers also reported patient response to antiviral medications developed to treat smallpox -- brincidofovir and tecovirimat -- which have previously demonstrated some efficacy against monkeypox in animals.

Monkeypox symptoms

Initial symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion. A rash can develop, often beginning on the face, then spreading to other parts of the body including the genitals.

The rash changes and goes through different stages - it can look like chickenpox or syphilis, before finally forming a scab which later falls off.

The incubation period of monkeypox can range from 5 to 21 days. The febrile stage of illness usually lasts 1 to 3 days with symptoms including fever, intense headache, lymphadenopathy (swelling of the lymph nodes), back pain, myalgia (muscle ache), and an intense asthenia (lack of energy). The febrile stage is followed by the skin eruption stage, lasting for 2 to 4 weeks. Lesions evolve from macules (lesions with a flat base) to papules (raised firm painful lesions) to vesicles (filled with clear fluid) to pustules (filled with pus), followed by scabs or crusts.

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