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Smallpox Virus Destruction and the Implications of a New Vaccine

D. A. Henderson
Date posted:
June 07, 2011
Publication type:

Biosecur Bioterror 2011;9(2):163-168

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
Open access
See also:

Full article available on publisher's site: HTML • PDF


The World Health Assembly is scheduled to decide in May 2011 whether the 2 known remaining stockpiles of smallpox virus are to be destroyed or retained. In preparation for this, a WHO-appointed committee undertook a comprehensive review of the status of smallpox virus research from 1999 to 2010. It concluded that, considering the nature of the studies already completed with respect to vaccine, drugs, and diagnostics, there was no reason to retain live smallpox virus except to satisfy restrictive regulatory requirements. The committee advised that researchers and regulators define alternative models for testing the vaccines and drugs. Apart from other considerations, the costs of new products are significant and important. These include prospective expenditures required for the development, manufacture, testing, and storage of new products. This commentary provides approximations of these costs and the incremental contribution that a newly developed vaccine might make in terms of public health security.



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