China has begun work on a monkeypox vaccine using viruses taken directly from a patient, marking a departure from the Western approach of repurposing an existing vaccine as it seeks to counter inroads from other parts of the world.
China National Biotec Group , a vaccine manufacturing subsidiary of state-owned pharmaceutical company Sinopharm, said it has successfully isolated the monkeypox virus and started developing vaccines and drugs that target the pathogen.
Countries like the UK, US and others across Europe are rolling out an older vaccine from Danish drugmaker Bavarian Nordic A/S that was originally intended to protect against smallpox. The hope is that it also offers some protection against monkeypox, a close cousin of the virus.
First case of monkeypox imported from China reported in Chongqing
China has reported only one case of monkeypox so far, in September, in a man who returned from abroad. Meanwhile, the number of infections has surpassed 73,000 in more than 100 countries, with the World Health Organization declaring it a public health emergency of international concern.
Little is known about the efficacy of the Nordic Bavarian monkeypox vaccine. Countries are conducting studies as they vaccinate risk groups, such as men who have sex with men. Developing a vaccine based on the specific virus it seeks to protect against could increase the chances of obtaining better protection, although the immunization will need to be validated through rigorous clinical trials consisting of several stages.