Bavarian Nordic's mpox vaccine Jynneos lauded as one of Time magazine's best inventions of 2022

Bavarian Nordic’s mpox vaccine Jynneos has been honored by Time magazine as one of the best inventions of the year after it was used to help curb an unprecedented global surge of the virus.

The vaccine was originally FDA approved for smallpox but in 2019 was also approved to treat monkeypox—now renamed by the World Health Organization (WHO) as “mpox”—and that led it to be the only licensed vaccine in the world for this disease.

The virus, which can cause painful, poxlike lesions and in a small number of cases can be fatal, is typically seen in certain parts of Africa but earlier this year there was a swift and sudden takeoff in its spread around the world, predominately in men who have sex with men.

While there were very few deaths associated with virus during this surge, the LGTBQ+ community was hit hard by the virus.

Jynneos was used in several countries, including across Europe, which had a particularly large contingent of cases, to help curb the infection.

Combined with other measures, such as contact tracing and quarantining, it appeared to work: As of Nov. 22, 15 countries have not reported a monkeypox case for more than 21 days, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

Though the disease is dying down in the West, it remains an epidemic in parts of Africa. Bavarian Nordic is contracted to deliver more than 10 million doses globally in 2022 and 2023.

Jynneos’ brand name was developed by Brand Institute and pays homage to Edward Jenner, a British physician and scientist who created the world's first vaccine, which would go on to be used to prevent smallpox.

Time highlights each year the top 200 innovations that “change how we live,” as the publication calls it. It highlights inventions from across tech, beauty, design, medicine and a host of other areas. Last year, all COVID-19 vaccines in development were in its best inventions list.  

Monkeypox, mpox

But we may be rethinking how we describe the disease. Monkeypox was first discovered in 1958 and named thus as a monkey was the first animal to show symptoms of the disease.

It has been largely contained within some parts of the African continent for the last half century but this year for the first time spread more rapidly outside the region and into Europe, the U.S. and Asia, predominantly in men who have sex with men.

Commentators had argued the name has racist undertones and also be seen as less serious with monkey as the prefix. The WHO has for the past few months been asking for proposals for a replacement, and this week the shortened term “mpox” was the winner.

“Both names will be used simultaneously for one year while ‘monkeypox’ is phased out,” the WHO said in a statement.