FDA approves new smallpox vaccine in case of bio-terrorism emergency

October 2, 2007

Washington - The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has licensed a new vaccine, ACAM2000, to protect against smallpox, which has the potential to be used as a bio-terrorism weapon, MedicalNewsToday.com reports.

Washington - The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has licensed a new vaccine, ACAM2000, to protect against smallpox, which has the potential to be used as a bio-terrorism weapon, MedicalNewsToday.com reports.

The vaccine is intended for the inoculation of people at high risk of exposure to smallpox, and could be used to protect populations in the event of a bio-terrorist attack. The vaccine will be included in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Strategic National Stockpile of medical supplies.

The last case of naturally occurring smallpox in the United States was in 1949, while the last case in the world was reported in Somalia in 1977. The CDC considers the virus a Category A agent, meaning it presents one of the greatest potential threats for harming public health.

ACAM2000, manufactured by Acambis of Cambridge, England, and Cambridge, Mass., is derived from the only other FDA-approved smallpox vaccine, Dryvax, which is in limited supply because it is no longer manufactured.

Although smallpox vaccination ended in the United States in 1972, the U.S. military resumed vaccination of at-risk personnel in 1999 after concluding that the virus posed a potential bioterrorism threat.

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