The FOPH is currently examining the possibility of centralizing the purchase of a vaccine against monkeypox. Such a measure, however, assumes that Swissmedic has given the green light to use the product and the institute has not received an authorization request.
Whether the monkeypox vaccine will be subject to a rolling review process will depend on the epidemiological situation, the therapeutic products institute said when interviewed by Keystone-ATS.
This rolling data review is currently only planned for the Covid-19 vaccine, he said. Such a method is useful when the data is still incomplete. Swissmedic clarifies questions relating to the procedure during a meeting with the companies applying for authorisation.
The European Commission has already approved the extension of the Imvanex vaccine, from the Danish company Bavarian Nordic, against monkeypox. This product has been approved in the EU since 2013 for the prevention of smallpox.
>> Watch the 7:30 p.m. report on the progress of monkeypox in Switzerland:
A total of 304 cases of monkeypox have been confirmed in Switzerland, according to figures published Wednesday evening by the Federal Office of Public Health (OFSP). The disease has not yet reached epidemic or pandemic level. It is subject to mandatory declaration and the FOPH has been monitoring it since May 21.
The Confederation is therefore currently examining the possibility of purchasing vaccines centrally, indicated the FOPH. The ordinance on authorizations in the field of medicinal products allows specialists, subject to conditions, to import unauthorized medicinal products into Switzerland for the treatment of patients.
But that’s irrelevant in this case. According to the FOPH, Bavarian Nordic is indeed ready to deliver its Imvanex vaccine only to States and in large quantities. In parallel with the examination carried out by the FOPH, the Federal Commission for Vaccinations (CFV) is currently drawing up recommendations concerning monkey pox.
No pandemic danger
The World Health Organization (WHO) issued a public health emergency of international concern, the highest level of alert, in July in an attempt to contain the outbreak of monkeypox, which struck nearly 17 000 people in 74 countries. But the disease does not pose a pandemic threat like AIDS, according to infectious disease specialists.
Monkeypox is not transmitted when the infected person does not yet show symptoms such as pustules. People who are infected therefore know that they are contagious. Also, sufferers are not contagious for long. Once the pustules have healed, the person is immune.
The situation is different with the HIV virus, responsible for AIDS. Visible symptoms usually only appear years after contamination, but infected people are already contagious before that. Moreover, the monkeypox virus is, in the current state of knowledge, not transmissible by blood.
Ten deaths so far
So far, only about ten deaths have been recorded worldwide: five in Africa, where the disease is endemic and was first detected in humans in 1970, one in Brazil, one in India and two in Spain.
The first symptoms are high fever, swollen lymph nodes and a rash similar to chickenpox. The infectious disease is transmitted to humans by animals, probably rodents (zoonosis). Human-to-human transmission occurs through close physical contact.
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