US seeks massive stock of smallpox vaccine

US seeks massive stock of smallpox vaccine

LONDON – The United States has issued a tender for up to 80 million doses of a smallpox vaccine to guard against terrorist attack, worth over US$1 billion, vaccine-makers said yesterday.

The United States has been building vaccine stocks ever since the discovery of anthrax spores in its mail system in 2001 sparked fears of a major bioterrorist assault. “The US government plans to procure a stockpile of MVA as part of its defence against the threat of smallpox virus being used as a bioterrorist weapon,” Britain’s Acambis said of its weakened MVA vaccine.The weakened version is designed for the elderly and patients with immune disorders and skin conditions such as eczema.Acambis said the US tender was for 20 million doses of the weakened MVA vaccine in the first two years, with the option of a further 60 million doses later on.Analysts said the full 80 million doses could be worth over US$1,2 billion.The United States has already stockpiled more than 180 million doses of full-strength vaccine against smallpox, seen as the deadliest biological agent that terrorists could unleash.The highly contagious virus killed untold millions until officially eradicated in 1979.Small stocks of the virus have been kept in laboratories, and the United States fears that some have been sold onto the black market.Thirty per cent of victims die and the rest are scarred for life by skin ulcers and pustules.- Nampa-Reuters”The US government plans to procure a stockpile of MVA as part of its defence against the threat of smallpox virus being used as a bioterrorist weapon,” Britain’s Acambis said of its weakened MVA vaccine.The weakened version is designed for the elderly and patients with immune disorders and skin conditions such as eczema.Acambis said the US tender was for 20 million doses of the weakened MVA vaccine in the first two years, with the option of a further 60 million doses later on.Analysts said the full 80 million doses could be worth over US$1,2 billion.The United States has already stockpiled more than 180 million doses of full-strength vaccine against smallpox, seen as the deadliest biological agent that terrorists could unleash.The highly contagious virus killed untold millions until officially eradicated in 1979.Small stocks of the virus have been kept in laboratories, and the United States fears that some have been sold onto the black market.Thirty per cent of victims die and the rest are scarred for life by skin ulcers and pustules.- Nampa-Reuters

Stay informed with The Namibian – your source for credible journalism. Get in-depth reporting and opinions for only N$85 a month. Invest in journalism, invest in democracy –
Subscribe Now!

Latest News