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Pharma company Siga gets requests for smallpox drug in Europe as monkeypox spreads

Pharma company Siga gets requests for smallpox drug in Europe as monkeypox spreads
An electron microscopic image of mature, oval-shaped monkeypox virus particles and immature virions, obtained from a clinical human skin sample associated with the 2003 prairie dog outbreak in this undated image obtained by Reuters on May 18, 2022. (File photo: Cynthia S Goldsmith, Russell Regnery/CDC/Handout via Reuters)

Siga Technologies has received requests for the use of its smallpox drug to treat monkeypox, its chief executive officer told Reuters on Thursday (May 19), as cases spread in parts of Europe.

There had been no deliveries yet but the company was "well-positioned" in terms of supply, CEO Phil Gomez said.

The drug, approved to treat smallpox in the United States and the family of orthopoxvirus that includes monkeypox and cowpox in the EU, has been in government stockpiles as part of the pandemic response.

"As you can imagine with the outbreak in Europe, we have received requests and we are responding to those as we can. We're engaged with our colleagues in Europe about the best way to support that response," Gomez said, without disclosing details on the requests.

Monkeypox cases have now been reported or are suspected in Britain, Portugal, Spain and the United States. The virus causes fever symptoms as well as a distinctive bumpy rash.

The disease, first identified in monkeys, typically spreads through close contact and largely occurs in west and central Africa.

New York-based Siga's shares were up 19 per cent on Thursday, along with shares of other smallpox vaccine and drug developers.

Copenhagen-based drugmaker Bavarian Nordic on Thursday said it had secured a contract with an undisclosed European country to supply its smallpox vaccine, Imvanex, in response to the outbreak.

Source: Reuters/ng

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