A woman in New Orleans receives a vaccine against monkeypox
Photo: Lan Wei/Xinhua/IMAGO
The World Health Organization (WHO) warns against considering vaccination as a panacea after reports of vaccine breakthroughs in monkeypox.
She stressed that there were no randomized controlled trials yet, but the reports suggested that one should not rely on vaccine protection alone, WHO monkeypox expert Rosamund Lewis said in Geneva on Wednesday.
In randomized controlled trials, participants are randomly divided into two groups and treated differently, for example one with the drug, the second with a placebo with no active ingredient.
Conclusions about the effectiveness of a substance can only be drawn from the evaluation of such studies.
Vaccine must be effective
"We knew from the start that this vaccine would not be a panacea, that it would not meet all the expectations that were placed on it," Lewis said.
Vaccination breakthroughs would occur both in people who were vaccinated after possible contact with an infected person and in those who had been vaccinated as a precaution.
Lewis stressed that vaccinates must wait at least two weeks after the second dose to allow the compound to become fully effective before engaging in risky behavior.
More than 90 percent of monkeypox cases are reported in men who have frequent sex with multiple partners.
The WHO expert called on these men to reduce their number of sexual partners and avoid group sex.
However, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had already pointed out at the end of June that everyone should be careful: “I am concerned about continued transmission, because that would mean that the virus would establish itself and also high-risk groups such as children, immunocompromised people and pregnant women could affect women.«
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According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), adults who have not received a smallpox vaccination in the past are given primary immunization with two doses of Imvanex vaccine at least 28 days apart.
While the first vaccine dose already provides good basic protection, the second dose serves to prolong the duration of the vaccine protection.
One dose of vaccine is sufficient for people who have been vaccinated against smallpox in the past.
The WHO also urged people infected with monkeypox to stay away from their pets to avoid possible transmission of the virus.
Lewis pointed to the first case of human-to-canine transmission of the monkeypox virus reported last week in the medical journal The Lancet.
"This is the first reported case of human-to-animal transmission," Lewis said.
The case involves two men living in Paris and their Italian Greyhound dog.
Experts were aware of the theoretical risk that such a transmission could take place.
Public health officials are already advising sufferers to stay away from their pets, Lewis said.
Animals should be protected
In the event of an infection, "waste management" is also important in order to reduce the risk of rodents and other animals outside the household becoming infected with the virus.
Those affected must be informed about how they can protect their animals and how they deal with their waste "so that animals are not exposed to the monkeypox virus".
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If viruses jump to another species, there is concern that the pathogen may mutate into a more dangerous variant.
However, the concern of the WHO applies above all to animals that do not live together with humans.
It is more dangerous "where a virus enters a small mammal population with a high animal density," said WHO emergency director Michael Ryan.
"By the process of one animal infecting the next and the next and the next, the virus evolves rapidly," he explained.
When it comes to pets, there's little to worry about, Ryan said.
He does not assume "that the virus will develop faster in a single dog than in a single human," he said.
"While we must remain vigilant," he said, "pets pose no risk."
As of Wednesday, the WHO had reported more than 35,000 monkeypox cases from 92 countries.
Twelve people came to us life.
There were 7,500 cases in the past week, 20 percent more than in the previous week.
According to the RKI, a total of 3,213 cases of monkeypox were reported in Germany.