The European Commission has agreed to expand the use of the Danish drug group Bavarian Nordic’s vaccine against monkeypox, the company announced Monday.

The green light was issued from Brussels after the European Medicines Authority (EMA) approved Friday the use of the Imvanex vaccine against monkeypox, knowing that it has been approved since 2013 in the European Union against human smallpox, reports a local Arabic daily.

It also comes after the World Health Organization launched its highest level of preparedness Saturday in an attempt to contain an outbreak of monkeypox that has so far infected nearly 17,000 people in 74 countries, mostly in Europe.

“The approval of the monkeypox vaccine is an example of good cooperation between Bavarian Nordic and European regulators, while such a decision usually takes six to nine months,” the Danish company said in a statement.

The commission’s green light is valid in all EU member states as well as in Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. The Imvanex vaccine is marketed as Jynneos in the United States, where it has been approved to combat monkeypox since 2019. This makes it the only vaccine licensed to prevent the disease.

The company announced that it had received a new US order in mid-July, bringing the number of doses ordered in the United States to 7 million. It also announced a request for 1.5 million doses from an unnamed European country last week.

The first cases of monkeypox in humans were discovered in 1970, and it is less severe and contagious than the human smallpox that was eradicated in 1980.

The disease is transmitted through close contact, and the patient usually recovers without intervention after two or three weeks.

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