Monkeypox: Central Govt constitutes task force to take a call on vaccination of close contacts

The task force for Monkeypox set up by the central government will call for close contacts to be vaccinated among those who have tested positive for the virus and as of now there are no specific plans to vaccinate part of the population, a senior official said. health ministry official on Tuesday.

This follows the statement of the Union’s Minister of Health, Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya, Tuesday in Rajya Sabha, said India has 8 positive (5 in Kerala and 3 in Delhi) confirmed cases of the virus and the country has begun strict surveillance and contact tracing.

“The disease is not new and nothing to panic about,” the minister added

The minister stated that the Monkeypox virus strain has been isolated by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), which has also expressed an interest in developing vaccine and diagnostic kits, and said the World Health Organization is currently not providing mass vaccination against Monkeypox.

dr. Pragya D. Yadav of the maximum containment laboratory, ICMR-National Institute of Virology, Pune, said India currently has no smallpox vaccine.

dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh, World Health Organization Regional Director, Southeast Asia Region, elaborated on the availability of vaccines for Monkeypox and said it will take time to fully assess what is available and how these vaccines can be most effective. are used.

“A monkeypox vaccine has recently been approved by some countries for which stocks are limited. Some countries may have smallpox vaccine products that may be eligible for use under national guidelines,” said Dr. Singh.

She added that vaccine products may be available in limited quantities through national authorities, depending on the country.

Many years of research has led to the development of new and safer (second and third generation) vaccines against smallpox, some of which may be useful for monkeypox and one of which has been approved for the prevention of monkeypox.

This vaccine is based on a strain of the vaccinia virus (commonly known as the modified vaccinia Ankara Bavarian Nordic strain or MVA-BN). This vaccine is approved for the prevention of monkeypox in Canada and the United States of America, said Dr. Singh.

Also, a senior pediatrician, who works with India’s immunization policy but declined to be identified, said India had no smallpox vaccine.

“In the early 1980s, it was decided to stop vaccinating children with the smallpox vaccine because the disease had been eradicated and the allergic reactions it caused were painful,” the person said. The Hindu.

“The two vaccines that are now available are for smallpox, but we don’t know if this will be effective for monkeypox. However, it should not be a challenge for India to import these vaccines in the short term if necessary.”

In 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the JYNNEOS vaccine for the prevention of smallpox, monkeypox, and other diseases caused by orthopox viruses, including vaccinia virus, in adults 18 years of age and older and categorized as a “high risk of infection” .

These include contacts from those confirmed to have a monkeypox infection, sexual partners (with contact within the past two weeks) from those confirmed to have an infection, and those whose immune systems are compromised.

As of July 29, doses were available in Brazil, Canada (Toronto, Montreal), Cyprus, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Europe, France, Germany (Berlin), Israel, Mexico, Nigeria, Portugal (Lisbon), Scotland, Spain (Madrid) and the UK (London) where the company claims to have delivered approximately 300,000 doses.

Meanwhile, the minister said India is taking a step-by-step approach and implementing the best lessons learned from the coronavirus.

“When cases started popping up in the world, India had already started preparations. For the first case in Kerala, we had issued guidelines to all states. We have written to governments at the international level that the travelers screening report should also be sent to us,” the minister told Rajya Sabha.

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