U.S. Stockpiling Smallpox Medications To Protect From Bioterror Attack

Matt 24:7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.

The threat of bio-terrorism using smallpox apparently is real enough to make the U.S. government purchase enough medication to treat two million people at a premium price.

The nearly half-billion dollar purchase from small drug company Siga Technologies is drawing complaints from some who feel the purchase is unnecessary and well above fair market value.

Robin Robinson, director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, said that the purchase was proper. The BARDA, part of the Department of Health and Human Services, stated that two million doses was the base needed for an attack on a large city and that to protect the entire nation at least 12 million doses would need to be ready to go.

However, a bio-weapons expert from Rutgers University says that the purchase was unnecessary as the government has raised it’s overall stockpile of vaccine from 15 million doses in 2001 to 300 million doses today.

Smallpox is as infectious as flu but 30 times as deadly according to statistics. Only the United States, Japan and Israel are believed to have enough vaccine stockpiled to protect their entire country’s populations.

Some experts are warning the fear over smallpox is being unfairly increased because of the incubation time of the virus and the likelihood that by the time a victim would be contagious they would be too weak to travel any significant distance making infection unlikely at schools or shopping malls. However, they do admit that in the case of a bio-terror attack the panic created would cause problems with treatment and vaccination.

The drug in question, Arestvyr, has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration only in emergency cases. The drug has never been tested in humans but reportedly helped save the lives of three people with weakened immune systems that developed the disease after exposure to the regular smallpox vaccine.

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