Japanese pharmaceuticals company KM Biologics Co is witnessing overseas interest in its monkeypox vaccine which was recently approved by domestic regulators. KM Biologics which is a unit of candy maker Meiji Holdings Co, has had “several inquiries from overseas” a company official told Reuters on Wednesday, declining to comment on any export plan for the shot.
On Tuesday, Japan’s health ministry approved the company’s freeze-dried smallpox vaccine LC16 KMB for use against monkeypox, after an expert panel recommended the move last week.
According to reports, Japan has had only two confirmed cases of monkeypox during the current global outbreak. Based in the southern prefecture of Kumamoto, KM Biologics mainly produces vaccines for humans and veterinary use. It has an inactivated COVID-19 shot currently in development.
On Tuesday, confirmed cases of monkeypox have now surpassed 25,300 across the world, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data. In April this year, the outbreak was first spotted in Europe and now it has reached 83 countries.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), monkeypox is a viral zoonotic disease with symptoms similar to those seen in the past in smallpox patients, although it is clinically less severe. The global health agency also emphasised that monkeypox is usually a self-limited disease with symptoms lasting from 2 to 4 weeks. However, severe cases can also occur.
(With inputs from Reuters)