Makers of monkeypox drugs face a rash of orders

Monkeypox isn’t covid-19. Since May the viral disease has infected 35,000 people in 92 countries, less than one-tenth as many as covid infects in a day. Though symptoms, including fever, headaches, muscle aches and a pus-filled rash, can be nasty, it seldom causes death. Critically, in contrast to covid, both a vaccine and a treatment predate the current epidemic. Their makers, two smallish drug companies, are struggling to keep up with demand.

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The jab is made by Bavarian Nordic, a Danish firm founded in 1994 to commercialise a clever replacement, developed by a researcher in Bavaria, to the old smallpox vaccine (monkeypox and smallpox are related viruses). Before the latest outbreak, only six countries, including America, had ordered the drug. In the past four months that number has swelled to 70, and…

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