Monkeypox: Spread Continues as Moderna Explores New Vaccines


Not very long ago, no one had heard of monkeypox, but the disease has now extended to 21 countries in the world. Apart from the existing smallpox vaccines, which have proven to be effective against it, Moderna plans to explore new vaccines.

Monkeypox, a zoonotic virus that mainly spreads among animals, has been endemic in a number of countries in Africa for several years. Now, the cases that are continuing to pop up worldwide are no longer linked exclusively to travel and have risen to spread across 21 countries.

To map the spread of the virus, Airfinity has launched a real-time monkeypox tracker, collating data on confirmed and suspected cases around the world.

Because monkeypox is similar to smallpox, currently approved smallpox vaccines like Bavarian Nordic’s Jynneos and Chimerix’s Temblex have been found to be effective against it. Airfinity is also tracking the availability, supply and procurement of these vaccines, which have been shown to be over 85 percent effective for monkeypox.

Supply deals for Bavarian Nordic’s smallpox vaccine

Although monkeypox is unlike COVID-19, in that it is not spread through airborne transmission and small droplets, but through close physical contact, Moderna, the biopharma company responsible for one of the most effective COVID-19 vaccines on the market, has announced its plans to explore potential vaccines for monkeybox at a preclinical level.  This will join the company’s work on a number of other vaccines against, for example, the flu and the common cold.

According to the consultant and former director of the FDA’s Office of Vaccines Research and Review, Norman Baylor, monkeypox is nothing like COVID: “The good news is we have a vaccine. Remember with Covid, we had nothing. We were starting from scratch.”

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