Monkeypox outbreak in Europe not yet public health emergency: EMA

The current monkeypox outbreak in Europe is “not a public health emergency” presently, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said on Thursday.

The risk for the general population to contract the disease is low and no massive surge in cases is foreseen even if an increase of cases will likely occur, Marco Cavaleri, the EMA’s head of biological health threats and vaccines strategy, was quoted as saying by Xinhua news agency.

“The focus should remain on the identification, monitoring and management of new cases (of monkeypox),” he told a regular EMA press briefing.

Cavaleri said the monkeypox outbreak is “unusual, including the large geographical spread,” but “most patients had mild symptoms and recovered without needing treatments.”

The EMA is acting out of precaution to ensure options for prevention and treatment if needed, he said.

The EMA is discussing the treatments and vaccines available against monkeypox with companies, said the official, noting that two medicines with the potential to be used against monkeypox are already authorized in the European Union (EU).

The first is Tecovirimat, an antiviral authorized to treat smallpox, monkeypox and cowpox. The other is Imvanex, a vaccine currently only authorized in the EU to protect adults against smallpox, but animal data show effectiveness in the prevention of monkeypox.

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