EU approves smallpox vaccine for use against monkeypox

The European Union’s executive arm has approved a smallpox vaccine for use against monkeypox after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared its spread a global health emergency.

The European Commission has extended the marketing authorisation for the company’s smallpox vaccine, Imvanex, to include protection from monkeypox” in line with a recommendation by the EU’s medicines watchdog.

The WHO has declared the monkeypox outbreak, which has affected some 16,000 people in 75 countries, to be a “public health emergency of international concern” – the highest alarm the United Nations’ health agency can sound.

Imvanex has been approved in the EU since 2013 for the prevention of smallpox. It was also considered a potential vaccine for monkeypox because of the similarity between the monkeypox virus and the smallpox virus.