Pharmaceutical company SIGA Technologies has announced that its oral therapy tecovirimat has been approved in the UK for the treatment of smallpox, monkeypox, cowpox.
The therapy has also been approved for the treatment of complications following vaccination against smallpox in adults and children with a body weight of at least 13kg.
Tecovirimat works by interfering with the VP37 protein which is found on the surface of orthopoxviruses such as smallpox and monkeypox. Through this, tecovirimat is able to prevent viruses from spreading, helping to reduce infection.
The same formulation of tecovirimat was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2018 and by Health Canada in late 2021 under the brand name TPOXX for the treatment of smallpox. In early 2022 SIGA also received market authorisation for tecovirimat from the European Medicines Agency for the treatment of smallpox, monkeypox, cowpox, and complications from vaccinia infection.
“We are very pleased that the UK has taken this important step in health emergency preparedness, not just for the immediate need in the current monkeypox outbreak, but for broader readiness by approving tecovirimat for treatment for a wide range of uses,” said Dr Phil Gomez, CEO of SIGA. “As we have learned in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, building robust stockpiles in response to infectious disease outbreaks is of vital importance worldwide. This includes being ready to combat even more devastating bioterror threats such as smallpox.”