TOKYO, July 30 — To prevent monkeypox, an expert panel of Japan’s health ministry on Friday approved the use of a smallpox vaccine made by KM Biologics Co, based in the southwestern city of Kumamoto.
Smallpox vaccines are about 85 per cent effective in preventing monkeypox, Jiji Press quoted the ministry.
The panel approved the KM Biologics vaccine for use in preventing infections with monkeypox and the development of severe symptoms.
KM Biologics is a unit of Japanese food and pharmaceuticals company Meiji Holdings Co.
The ministry has vaccinated 50 medical workers at the National Centre for Global Health and Medicine (NCGM) for research purposes.
It has allowed the use of foreign-made monkeypox treatments that have yet to be approved in Japan at the NCGM and three other institutions in the prefectures of Osaka, Aichi and Okinawa.
Over 18,000 people in 78 countries had been infected with the virus as of Wednesday, according to World Health Organisation (WHO).
Patients are mostly infected by coming into contact with the rashes or body fluids of infected people, and most recover naturally within two to four weeks.
“Unlike with Covid-19, the human-to-human transmission does not occur easily,” the ministry said.