Why Are Smallpox Vaccines Being Considered For Monkeypox
Both smallpox and monkeypox are poxviruses. Poxviruses are similar, and historically, some have been used to protect people against more dangerous viruses in the same family.
Smallpox and monkeypox do have plenty in common. At the genetic level, the two viruses are 85% identical, says Jason Mercer, a pox virologist at the University of Birmingham. Both can cause a distinctive rash of pustules on the skin, which eventually form scabs.
But there are key differences. Generally, monkeypox causes a less severe illness. While smallpox is thought to affect only humans, monkeypox can infect animals, which can act as reservoirs from which the virus can pass to humans. Monkeypox is so named because it was first spotted in monkeys, but it usually infects rodents.
A Little Help From A Cow
Variolation remained an important practice throughout Asia and Africa, reaching Europe and the New World colonies by the early 18th century, where it was first used to stop the Boston smallpox epidemic of 1721.
In the late 18th century, English physician Edward Jenner arrived at the observation that dairymaids were protected against smallpox because of their contact with cowpox, a now rare, self-limiting disease transmitted through lesions on the udder and teats to humans. Jenner postulated that to confer biological protection, much like with variolation, cowpox could be deliberately acquired through some sort of inoculation.
In May 1796, Jenner collected pus from the fresh scabs of a young dairymaid recently infected with cowpox and injected it into a 8-year-old boy. While testing what was essentially a live vaccine a vaccine containing a weakened or attenuated form of a virus on a human subject is ethically disconcerting, the young boy did not develop smallpox when injected with it six weeks later.
Vaccination, as the practice eventually came to be known, from the Latin for cow or vacca, was considered a groundbreaking medical discovery, gaining acceptance throughout Europe and paving the road for future vaccines. In the U.S., Jennerian vaccination was encouraged partly thanks to Thomas Jefferson, who conducted small vaccine trials himself and made it one of the new nation’s first health priorities when elected president in 1801.
Smallpox Vaccine Halt Contributing To Monkeypox Rise
A halt in routine smallpox vaccinations decades ago has contributed to the growth of monkeypox, experts have said.
Monkeypox cases are continuing to spread around Europe in an outbreak doctors have described as unusual, since it only very occasionally spreads outside of west and central Africa.
Yet increasing numbers of cases are emerging this month in countries like the U.K., where 20 cases have been reported, as well as in Spain, Italy, Germany, Belgium, France, the U.S., Canada and others.
According to the European Centre of Disease Prevention and Control , this is the first time that chains of transmission have been reported in Europe without any known epidemiological links to west and central Africa.
Investigations are ongoing to examine the new cases and what is causing them. One factor is that people aren’t protected against the virus, and haven’t been since the global smallpox vaccine rollout was halted decades ago. The smallpox vaccine also protected against monkeypox.
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Why Does The Us Have A Stockpile Of Monkeypox Vaccines
The US has a stockpile of Jynneos and ACAM2000 on hand not because the country was worried about an outbreak of monkeypox , but in case smallpox becomes a public threat again. Smallpox was declared eliminated in the 1980s, and the last natural outbreak in the US happened in 1949. But smallpox is usually much more severe than monkeypox, and officials worry it could be used as biological warfare.
“The stockpile was created in the event of a biological weapons attack on the United States with smallpox,” Adalja says. In this event, health officials would not be rationing vaccines or using only the newer-generation vaccine, according to Adalja.
“If there was a smallpox attack, we would be using whatever vaccines we have to be able to deal with it,” he added.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.
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Why Is The Jab Being Used
While there is not a specific vaccine for monkeypox, a smallpox vaccine does offer some protection, according to the UKHSA. The two viruses are closely related.
Data show that vaccines that were used to eradicate smallpox are up to 85 per cent effective against monkeypox, according to the World Health Organisation.
Those who have required the vaccine have been offered it, a UKHSA spokesperson said, without disclosing specifics on how many people have been vaccinated so far.
Smallpox vaccine immunity lasts for three to five years in people who are vaccinated for the first time.
People who are re-vaccinated may have longer protection lasting for about 10 years.
Some countries have large stockpiles of the smallpox vaccine as part of pandemic preparedness, including the United States.
On Thursday, Copenhagen-based drugmaker Bavarian Nordic said it had secured a contract with an undisclosed European country to supply its smallpox vaccine, Imvanex, in response to the monkeypox outbreak.
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The End Of Routine Smallpox Vaccination In The United States
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C. Henry Kempe THE END OF ROUTINE SMALLPOX VACCINATION IN THE UNITED STATES. Pediatrics April 1972 49 : 489492. 10.1542/peds.49.4.489
1971 was the year in which the Surgeon General of the United States Public Health Service, the Redbook Committee of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Territorial Health Officers agreed that the time had come to discontinue routine primary smallpox vaccination for American children. As a result of this it may also be expected that school vaccination laws presently in effect in some 28 states will soon be repealed or will not be enforced with vigor.
The American pediatrician views these developments with mixed feelings, since there have been extensive and often spirited debates regarding the timing for discontinuation of routine smallpox vaccination.
What Are The Vaccines
Three vaccines are being considered to tackle the current global outbreak. All three were developed as smallpox vaccines. Only one is licensed for monkeypox by the US Food and Drug Administration: a vaccine called MVA-BN, or Jynneos in the US.
Another of the vaccines, ACAM2000, is licensed by the FDA for smallpox but may be used for monkeypox with the submission of extra forms. The third vaccine being considered is LC16m8, which is licensed for smallpox in Japan.
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How Is Monkeypox Transmitted
According to the NHS, monkeypox can be caught from infected wild animals in parts of west and central Africa.
It is thought to be spread by rodents, such as rats, mice and squirrels.
You can catch monkeypox from an infected animal if you are bitten, or you touch its blood, body fluids, spots, blisters or scabs.
It may also be possible to catch monkeypox by eating meat from an infected animal that has not been cooked thoroughly, or by touching other products from infected animals .
It is very uncommon to get monkeypox from an infected person, but it can be spread through touching clothing, bedding or towels used by someone with the monkeypox rash, touching monkeypox skin blisters or scabs, or the coughs or sneezes of an infected person.
Officials have stressed that no confirmation of sexually transmitted cases of monkeypox has been confirmed, although this possibility is being investigated.
Some Countries Have Large Stockpiles Of The Smallpox Vaccine As Part Of Pandemic Preparedness Including The United States
The UK Health Security Agency has confirmed 20 cases of monkeypox in the UK, with nine other countries outside of Central and West Africa also reporting outbreaks.
The disease, which was first found in monkeys, can be transmitted from person to person through close physical contact, including sexual intercourse.
A form of smallpox vaccine is being offered to very close contacts of those who have been affected.
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Stores Of Smallpox And Future Vaccination
The only remaining smallpox viruses are contained in two WHO collaborating centres: the Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, USA, and the Laboratory for Applied Microbiology at Koltsovo in the Novosibirsk region of the Russian Federation.Smallpox has recently been assessed as a possible biological weapon that could be used in non-conventional warfare or in a terrorist attack. Although this is believed to be unlikely, planning for such an eventuality has commenced worldwide. In Australia, a small amount of smallpox vaccine is available for essential medical personnel and contacts in the case of an outbreak.
How Is Smallpox Diagnosed
Monitoring for a disease that does not currently exist anywhere in the world presents unique challenges. Currently, diagnosing a case would be based on classic symptoms a person would experience when ill with smallpox. These include a sudden onset of fever greater than 101°F, followed by a rash of firm vesicles or pustules in the same stage of development, without other apparent cause. Laboratory testing would be performed to confirm a suspected smallpox diagnosis. For more information on diagnosing smallpox, see the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Smallpox Diagnosis & Evaluation webpage.
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Smallpox Epidemics In New France
Smallpox crossed the Atlantic Ocean when European empires began to expand in the 16th century. The disease had long decimated populations and caused terror. It was first reported in New France in 1616 near Tadoussac, the colonys first fur-trading post. The budding fur trade repeatedlyexposed nearbyInnu and Algonquin communities to the disease. Many fell ill and died due to their lackof immunity. The disease spread into the ,James Bay and Great Lakes regions.
Between 1634 and 1640, Jesuit priests introduced smallpox into Wendake , west of Lake Simcoe and south of Georgian Bay. Priests insisted on baptizing sick and dying Huron-Wendat. However,the priests presence contributed to the spread of the disease. Due to smallpox and other infectious diseases, the Huron-Wendat population declined by roughly 60 per cent by 1640.
Smallpox Spurred Humanity’s Earliest Vaccines
The strain of monkeypox that has been reported in the U.S. and Europe has had a 1 percent fatality rate in the past, according to the World Health Organization. By contrast, smallpoxs deadliest form killed about 30 percent of those who contracted it. So its unsurprising that smallpox spurred some of the earliest vaccination practices in human history.
Researchers think that people in Asia centuries ago inhaled dried pustules of smallpox to induce mostly mild infections, thereby inoculating them against severe illness. The practice called variolation spread, taking hold in England in the early 1700s.
At the end of the 18th century, Edward Jenner, a British physician, began to develop the worlds first vaccine after he observed immune protection among people whod contracted cowpox before they were exposed to smallpox. His vaccine used cowpox to induce smallpox immunity.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Smallpox
Initial symptoms include high fever, fatigue, headache and backache. A rash , mostly found on the face, arms and legs occurs 2 to 3 days after the high fever. The rash starts out flat but then becomes pus-filled and begins to crust in the second week. The scabs separate and fall off in 3 to 4 weeks. Smallpox can result in death in up to one third of people who become infected. Smallpox is not contagious until just before the beginning of the rash .
Tips For Fading A Scar
The treatments for a smallpox scar are similar to those for scarring in general. Some tips to reduce the scars appearance include:
- Wearing sunscreen at all times over the scar. Sun exposure can cause scar tissue to appear darker and thicken. This can make a smallpox vaccine appear more pronounced.
- Applying skin-softening ointments that may help reduce the scars appearance. Examples include cocoa butter, natural oils, aloe, or ointments containing allium cepa extract. However, these treatments havent been scientifically proven to full reduce the appearance of scars.
- Talking to a doctor about dermabrasion, a process that works to remove the outer layers of skin to promote healing. The results of this method to treat scars are unpredictable.
- Talking to a doctor about scar revision, a process that involves removing the affected skin and stitching the scar back together. While this does create another scar, ideally, the new scar is less noticeable.
- Talking to a doctor about skin grafting, which replaces the scarred area with new, healthy skin. However, the skin edges around where the graft is placed may appear noticeably different.
If your smallpox scar developed into a keloid, you can apply silicone sheets or gel to the keloid. This can help reduce the keloids size.
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The 1960s To 1970s: Withdrawal
Dick raised his concerns at the BMAs annual meeting in Belfast in July 1962. He was joined by William Edgar, Bradfords Deputy MOH, making a speech to the Royal Society of Health in which he claimed that mass vaccination had not contributed to controlling the outbreak there. The resulting debate was picked up by the popular press, highlighting the strength of feeling on the matter and causing some anxiety on the part of the Ministry of Health. It had hoped to keep the matter relatively private, a discussion between experts in government meeting rooms rather than in a public forum. Correspondents to the British Medical Journal were also critical that such a sensitive matter was being aired in a press prone to sensationalist headlines, as evinced by the panic that had followed reports of smallpox during the epidemic. There was a sense, therefore, that the public did not have the knowledge to be able to debate this issue properly and would act emotionally rather than logically. However, the British Medical Journal also cautioned its readers that they too held deep emotional positions on smallpox. An editorial quoted the noted epidemiologist Major Greenwood when he said that no intelligent person supposes that logic determines practical issues.
Who’s Eligible For The Vaccine And How Do I Get One
Exact criteria for who should get a monkeypox vaccine depend on the city or state people live in and how widespread the outbreak is there, but men who have sex with men and who have had multiple or anonymous sexual partners in the last two weeks are eligible in cities like New York. That’s because gay and bisexual men are currently at higher risk in the outbreak, though anyone with close contact to monkeypox can get the disease.
According to the CDC, you meet the criteria for a monkeypox vaccine if:
- You’re a contact of someone who has monkeypox or you were identified as possibly exposed via contact tracing.
- You had a sexual partner within the last two weeks who has monkeypox.
- You’ve had multiple sexual partners in the last two weeks in an area with a high number of monkeypox cases.
- You are a lab or health care worker who’s around orthopox viruses, including in animals.
If you think you qualify for a vaccine or were exposed to monkeypox, contact your local health department or doctor’s office to find an appointment in your area. You can also book an appointment for the vaccine online, a process that’ll walk you through the eligibility criteria. Here is New York City’s vaccine appointment website. You can make an appointment and find a vaccine in San Francisco by .
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Different Types Of Vaccine
Smallpox vaccines produced and successfully used during the intensified eradication program are called first generation vaccines in contrast to smallpox vaccines developed at the end of the eradication phase or thereafter and produced by modern cell culture techniques. Second generation smallpox vaccines use the same smallpox vaccine strains employed for manufacture of first generation vaccines or clonal virus variants plaque purified from traditional vaccine stocks, whereas third generation smallpox vaccines represent more attenuated vaccine strains specifically developed as safer vaccines at the end of the eradication phase by further passage in cell culture or animals. Second and third generation vaccines are produced using modern cell culture techniques and current standards of Good Manufacturing Practices .
The need for WHO to maintain an emergency reserve of smallpox vaccine following eradication was recognized in 1980 when WHO was given a set of formal responsibilities for maintaining capacity and expertise to respond to a re-emergence of smallpox in the post-eradication era as both a component of a preparedness strategy and a possible deterrent to intentional release. The Smallpox Vaccine Emergency Stockpile was originally created by consolidating WHO Member State donations given in support of the Intensified Smallpox Eradication Programme.
What To Know About The Monkeypox Virus
What is monkeypox?Monkeypox is a virus similar to smallpox, but symptoms are less severe. It was discovered in 1958, after outbreaks occurred in monkeys kept for research. The virus was primarily found in parts of Central and West Africa, but recently it has spread to dozens of countries and infected tens of thousands of people, overwhelmingly men who have sex with men.
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The Claim: Smallpox Killed More Than 300 Million In The 20th Century Was Defeated Through Vaccination
Vaccination has become a much talked about topic since the COVID-19 pandemic and one Facebook post is singing its praises.
“Smallpox killed more than 300 million people in the 20th century alone,” claims Rico Blanco in a .
Blanco states smallpox was never defeated with herd immunity the phenomenon when immunized people within a community or population protect those who lack immunity, essentially serving as human bulwarks against disease transmission only through vaccination.
have also made the case vaccination was responsible for eliminating the deadly disease, which they claim killed “3 out of every 10 people.”