Lancet study finds Smallpox vax against monkeypox may not be lasting

LONDON: Despite the fact that wealthy nations are stockpiling smallpox vaccines to combat the current monkeypox outbreak, a recent study published in the Lancet suggested that immunity to the virus might not last a lifetime.

According to the World Health Organization, which recently designated the disease a public health emergency of international concern, the monkeypox outbreak has resulted in more than 31,665 cases and 12 fatalities worldwide. Most cases in recent outbreaks are currently seen in guys who have intercourse with other men.

The smallpox vaccine has been demonstrated to lower the risk of developing symptoms and a serious illness from monkeypox, but protection may wane over time. 32 of the 181 patients in Spain who participated in the study had previously had a smallpox immunisation as children.

According to Dr. Oriol Mitja, co-author of the study, it is logical to assume that the majority of people who had gotten the smallpox vaccination had done so more than 45 years prior, as reported by the Guardian. He was cited as saying, "All I can tell is that childhood vaccines may not protect 100% for life."

While the viruses are close but not identical, according to Jimmy Whitworth, professor of global public health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, "the cross-protection given may not be absolute." 

Experts also said that HIV may be the reason why protection from the vaccine wanes over time. The study showed that about 40 percent of the monkeypox cases were in people who were HIV positive.

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