British health agencies have secured 375,000 dollars to develop tools for a standardized approach to test the performance of vaccines against monkeypox disease. The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, which allocated the funding, made the announcement a few days after WHO (World Health Organization) declared the monkeypox virus a public health emergency of international concern.
The designation, which is the highest level of alert from WHO, does not necessarily mean a disease is specifically transmissible, but it is key to unlocking funds and cooperation among countries to share treatments and vaccines.
CEPI said the money will go to the UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the UKHSA (Health Security Agency) to develop standard tools to assess the strength and duration of immune responses produced by current vaccines, and for tests used to detect monkeypox antibody levels.
CEPI said apart from administration fees, these tools will be made available freely to the global scientific community, paving the way for a common standardized assessment between countries documenting the performance of vaccines against monkeypox disease.
Until 2022, the viral monkeypox disease had rarely spread outside Africa, where the disease is endemic. But reports of some monkeypox cases in the United Kingdom in May 2022 signalled that the outbreak had moved into the region of Europe. Up till now, there have been over 16,000 confirmed cases of monkeypox disease in over 75 countries.