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At this time, there are no specific treatments available for monkeypox infection, but monkeypox outbreaks can be controlled.   

Smallpox vaccine, cidofovir, ST-246, and vaccinia immune globulin (VIG) can be used to control a monkeypox outbreak. CDC guidance was developed using the best available information about the benefits and risks of smallpox vaccination and drug use for the prevention and management of monkeypox and other orthopoxvirus infections.

Smallpox Vaccine

Components of a smallpox vaccination kit including the diluent, a vial of Dryvax® smallpox vaccine, and a bifurcated needle.

Smallpox vaccination kit.

Because monkeypox virus is closely related to the virus that causes smallpox, the smallpox vaccine can protect people from getting monkeypox. Past data from Africa suggests that the smallpox vaccine is at least 85% effective in preventing monkeypox. Experts also believe that vaccination after a monkeypox exposure may help prevent the disease or make it less severe.

Smallpox vaccine is not currently available to the general public. In the event of another outbreak of monkeypox in the U.S., CDC will establish guidelines explaining who should be vaccinated under an investigational new drug (IND) protocol. For more information about the smallpox vaccine please visit CDC’s Smallpox Vaccination Information for Health Professionals.

Cidofovir and Brincidofovir (CMX001)

Data is not available on the effectiveness of Cidofovir and Brincidofovir in treating human cases of monkeypox.  However, both have proven activity against poxviruses in in vitro and animal studies.

It is unknown whether or not a person with severe monkeypox infection will benefit from treatment with either antiviral, although their use may be considered in such instances. Brincidofovir may have an improved safety profile over Cidofovir.  Serious renal toxicity or other adverse events have not been observed during treatment of cytomegalovirus infections with Brincidofovir as compared to treatment using Cidofovir.

Tecovirimat (ST-246)

Data is not available on the effectiveness of ST-246 in treating human cases of monkeypox.

Studies using a variety of animal species have shown that ST-246 is effective in treating orthopoxvirus-induced disease. Human clinical trials indicated the drug was safe and tolerable with only minor side effects.

Although currently stockpiled by the Strategic National Stockpile, use of ST-246 is administered under an IND.

Vaccinia Immune Globulin (VIG)

Data is not available on the effectiveness of VIG in treatment of monkeypox complications. Use of VIG is administered under an IND and has no proven benefit in the treatment of smallpox complications. It is unknown whether a person with severe monkeypox infection will benefit from treatment with VIG, however, its use may be considered in such instances.

VIG can be considered for prophylactic use in an exposed person with severe immunodeficiency in T-cell function for which smallpox vaccination following exposure to monkeypox is contraindicated.

Related Links

CDC’s Smallpox Vaccine Information for the General Public