US Buys Millions of Monkeypox Vaccines While Massachusetts Man Is Infected

The United States government has ordered millions of doses of a vaccine that protects against monkeypox. The news follows the first confirmed case in the states, a man in Massachusetts, following an outbreak in the UK.

The order amounts to a $119 million order for Jynneos vaccines, which are used for the prevention of both smallpox and monkeypox. It was announced on Wednesday by the biotech company Bavarian Nordic, which makes the vaccine.

The order will convert bulk vaccines, which have already been manufactured and billed under previous contracts with the US government, into freeze-dried versions that have an enhanced shelf life.

The total government contract with Bavarian Nordic is $299 million, which would provide 13 million freeze-dried doses.

The first doses are expected to be manufactured next year with more doses in 2024 and 2025.

The order comes amid concern over monkeypox cases that have been reported in the UK and a case was also reported in Massachusetts.

Monkeypox is a viral disease first discovered in 1958 among colonies of monkeys that were kept for research. The first human case was recorded in 1970.

Symptoms in humans can include fever, headache, body aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills, and exhaustion. Within a day or a few days of the fever, patients develop a rash that spreads over the entire body.

The illness tends to last two to four weeks and has been shown to cause death in up to 10 percent of people who contract it.

On Wednesday, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) confirmed a single case of monkeypox in an adult male who had recently traveled to Canada. The health department said the case “poses no risk to the public” and the individual is hospitalized in fair condition.

It is the first case of monkeypox detected in the country this year. In 2021, two cases were reported in the US.

A file photo shows a medical professional holding a syringe. The United States government has ordered a batch of freeze-dried vaccines that protect against the monkeypox virus.
Meyer and Meyer/Getty

“DPH is working closely with the CDC, relevant local boards of health, and the patient’s health care providers to identify individuals who may have come in contact with the patient while they were infectious,” DPH said in a statement. release.

Elsewhere, however, there have been larger outbreaks. This month alone, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has detected a total of nine cases of monkeypox in the country, with more recent cases predominantly in gay or bisexual men.

Notably, the last two cases had no travel links to another country where monkeypox is endemic, so it is possible that they were transmitted locally.

Monkeypox had not previously been described as a sexually transmitted infection, but the UKHSA has advised people, especially those who are homosexual or bisexual, to be alert to unusual rashes or skin markings on the body, especially on the genitals.

The monkeypox virus is spread through contact with an infected person or animal.

According to the CDC, the virus can infect people by entering the body through broken skin, the respiratory tract, entering mucous membranes such as the eyes, nose, or mouth, and by coming into direct contact with body fluids. Animals can infect people through bites or scratches and through the preparation of bushmeat.

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