The smallpox vaccine also works for monkeypox

The smallpox vaccine also works for monkeypox

Smallpox vaccines, given until the mid-1970s, offer continuous cross-reactive immunity against the Mpox virus, formerly known as monkeypox. This was reported by researchers at the Karolinska Institutet, in Sweden, in a study published in the scientific journal Cell Host & Microbe. Mpox is a viral infection that is spread primarily through close physical contact with an infected person.

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Sexual physical contact poses a particularly high risk. Common symptoms are blisters, sores and rashes, fever, and swollen glands. It can also cause pain and discomfort, but usually goes away on its own after two to four weeks. During last year's Mpox outbreak, the virus spread outside Africa for the first time, causing more than 85,000 cases to date. Men who had sex with other men reported the most infections, with a marked slant toward younger men.

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The virus that causes smallpox is known as the orthopoxvirus and is very similar to the virus that caused smallpox until the mid-1970s, when it was finally eradicated. Since there is data indicating that the older smallpox vaccine could protect against mpox, the Karolinska Institutet researchers wondered whether individuals who were vaccinated against the former decades ago would have some protection against the latter due to a residual memory response.

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"Our study demonstrates this to be the case, implying that memory cells are very long-lived and that they can recognize closely related viruses such as mpox virus and provide overlapping or cross-reactive immunity," said the author. study correspondent Marcus Buggertlecturer and researcher at the Center for Infectious Medicine of the Karolinska Institutet.

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By analyzing the T-cell immune response in 105 healthy blood donors, the researchers were able to show that individuals born before 1976 had a significantly stronger immune response against both types of viruses. The researchers also analyzed the immune response in 22 men with a recent mpox infection and showed that they too displayed a strong immune response to the virus, which could provide future immunity.
"This study shows that the smallpox vaccine can provide about 80 percent protection against smallpox," Buggert said.

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