Monkeypox: Despite the fact that wealthy countries are stockpiling smallpox vaccines to combat the current monkeypox outbreak, a recent study published in the Lancet suggested that immunity to the virus may not last a lifetime.
According to the World Health Organization, which recently declared the disease a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, the monkeypox outbreak has resulted in more than 31,665 cases and 12 deaths worldwide. Most cases of recent outbreaks are currently seen in men who have intercourse with other males.
The smallpox vaccine has been demonstrated to reduce the risk of developing symptoms and serious illness from monkeypox, but protection may decrease over time. Of the 181 patients from Spain who participated in the study, 32 had previously been vaccinated with smallpox as children.
According to study co-author Dr. Oriol Mitza, it is logical to assume that the vast majority of people who got the smallpox vaccine did so more than 45 years ago, as reported by the Guardian. He was quoted 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 and Tropical Medicine, “the given cross-protection may not be complete.”
Experts also said that HIV may be the reason why vaccine protection decreases over time. The study showed that about 40 percent of monkeypox cases were in people who were HIV positive.