FDA ap­proves small­pox drug in case of a ter­ror at­tack

Baltimore Sun - - NATION & WORLD -

WASH­ING­TON — U.S. reg­u­la­tors have ap­proved the first treat­ment for small­pox — a deadly dis­ease that was wiped out four decades ago — in case the virus is used in a ter­ror at­tack.

Small­pox, which is con­ta­gious, was erad­i­cated world­wide by 1980 af­ter a huge vac­ci­na­tion cam­paign. But peo­ple born since then haven’t been vac­ci­nated, and sam­ples were saved for re­search pur­poses, leav­ing the pos­si­bil­ity it could be used as a bi­o­log­i­cal weapon.

The U.S. Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion ap­proved the drug, called TPOXX, on Fri­day. The maker, SIGA Tech­nolo­gies of New York, has de­liv­ered 2 mil­lion treat­ments for stock­pil­ing by the gov­ern­ment.

To test the treat­ment, an­i­mals were in­fected with a sim­i­lar virus and then given the drug. Ninety per­cent sur­vived.

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