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Oxford Uni scientists study Siga’s Tpoxx for protection against monkeypox

Published on 24/08/22 at 12:27pm

The team at Oxford University, who conducted the landmark RECOVERY trial of COVID-19 therapies, is now studying if Siga Technologies’ smallpox drug Tpoxx can be used to fight the outbreak.

The PLATINUM trial is now recruiting up to 500 patients across the UK to see if Tpoxx (tecovirimat), an antiviral drug that prevents the virus from leaving infected cells, can help people with monkeypox get better more quickly, and shorten the time that they are infectious to others.

Tecovirimat was initially developed to treat illness caused by poxviruses. While it has been shown to improve recovery from monkeypox in animals, there is currently limited data on its use in human infections, according to the PLATINUM team.

However, the drug has been administered on over 400 healthy people in order to test its safety, and no concerns have been identified. It was approved as the first medicine to treat smallpox in 2018.

Professor Sir Peter Horby, Oxford infectious disease expert, principal investigator of PLATINUM and joint head of the RECOVERY trial, commented: “Monkeypox is a distressing and sometimes dangerous infection. For the benefit of current and future patients worldwide who have been diagnosed with monkeypox, we need definitive evidence that tecovirimat is safe and effective.”

Tpoxx is currently approved in Europe for the treatment of monkeypox, and in the US and elsewhere for the treatment of smallpox only, but can be prescribed off-label.

On the 17 August, WHO said that it had seen a 20% increase in cases over the previous week.

Lina Adams

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