Others want to be more cautious and intend for the moment to favor anti-viral treatments or post-exposure vaccination.
“It’s urgent”. In the infectious diseases department of Saint-Louis hospital in Paris, Professor Jean-Michel Minola is “worried”, he confides to BFMTV.com. He sees the number of monkeypox cases increasing daily and the carrying capacity beginning to saturate.
An unusual upsurge in monkey pox cases now extends to around 40 countries, including France. “There is a doubling of cases every nine days”, explains Antoine Flahault, epidemiologist at the University of Geneva, to our microphone. The majority of cases reported since May so far have been in men who have sex with men, although it is not a sexually transmitted infection and transmission can occur through close contact.
Faced with this outbreak, several voices are rising to demand preventive vaccination of these people said to be at risk, in France. This is already the case in the United Kingdom, which has already recommended since Tuesday the vaccination of gay men considered “at risk”.
Prevent “the situation from degenerating”
To date, in France, the “contact cases” of a person infected with monkeypox are vaccinated post-exposure. An “effective” vaccination according to Professor Minola. However, according to him “the strategy put in place is not enough”. Indeed, it is sometimes difficult to identify contacts, in the case of multiple partners, and therefore to protect them and contain the epidemic. “These are situations that go against the ‘test, trace, isolate’ strategy”, concedes Antoine Flahault.
This is why Nathan Boumendil, an activist from the AIDES association in Seine-Saint-Denis, pleads for the preventive vaccination of men who have sex with men, especially those who have several partners. “We have to ring the alarm bell,” he explains to BFMTV.com, as he observes a “galloping” increase in cases.
“If we don’t put pressure, the public authorities say to themselves that there is no emergency, in particular because the epidemic mainly concerns a community”, he continues.
For Jean-Michel Minola, this preventive vaccination pre-exposure to the virus would prevent “the situation from degenerating”. According to him, otherwise, the epidemic “risks reaching more fragile people”.
“Not enough hindsight” on the vaccine
A position shared by Antoine Flahault who explains that this disease can be dangerous for “the immunocompromised, pregnant women, children or people with a skin disease”.
Otherwise, according to him, this monkeypox remains rather benign, which makes him consider the benefit/risk ratio of vaccinating part of the population. “I remain reserved on too extensive use,” he says. Indeed, the vaccine used, marketed under the name Imvanex, is relatively new. Therefore, “we do not have certainty or enough perspective on the safety of this vaccine”, he warns. The first vaccine used against smallpox could sometimes cause serious adverse effects.
“We will very quickly have data with the United Kingdom”, he affirms, explaining to prefer for the moment anti-viral treatments or post-exposure vaccines, in reaction, or even the classic recommendations for isolation of the person. positive and its contact cases.
“Today, there are other problems so it is not on the political agenda”, deplores Jean-Michel Minola who underlines the importance of ordering doses of vaccine quickly.