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Anthrax Vaccine Purchase for National Stockpile Is Imminent, Says Top U.S. Health Emergency Official

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  • Robert White
    From: Randice randiceaj@sbcglobal.net We are hopeful negotiations will wrap up soon, BioPort spokeswoman Kim Root concurred in an e-mail today. We are
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 30, 2005
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      From: Randice randiceaj@...

      "We are hopeful negotiations will wrap up soon," BioPort spokeswoman Kim Root concurred in an e-mail today. "We are prepared to deliver licensed anthrax vaccine to the Strategic National Stockpile within days of signing the contract."
      http://www.nti.org/d_newswire/issues/2005_4_29.html#C891CF82

      Anthrax Vaccine Purchase for National Stockpile Is Imminent, Says Top U.S. Health Emergency Official

      By Joe Fiorill
      Global Security Newswire

      WASHINGTON - The U.S. Health and Human Services Department expects within days to complete talks on a 5 million-dose purchase of anthrax vaccine for the Strategic National Stockpile, the official in charge of the effort said yesterday (see GSN, April 6).

      "My office will complete negotiations for 5 million doses of the currently licensed anthrax vaccine in the next few days to support immediate requirements," Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary Stewart Simonson said in testimony submitted to the Senate Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee.

      When asked last evening by Global Security Newswire to elaborate on that projection, department spokesman Marc Wolfson said Simonson's office is "down to the final negotiations with" drug maker BioPort.

      "We are hopeful negotiations will wrap up soon," BioPort spokeswoman Kim Root concurred in an e-mail today. "We are prepared to deliver licensed anthrax vaccine to the Strategic National Stockpile within days of signing the contract."

      The department in November announced its intention to buy the vaccine from BioPort, which makes the only existing U.S.-licensed vaccine. The United States has contracted with a second company, VaxGen, to provide 75 million doses of a newly developed vaccine within two years.

      U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) wrote Health and Human Services early this month expressing concern that the agency had not completed the BioPort purchase. Grassley said the U.S. anthrax vaccine stockpile had not been augmented since the September 2001 al-Qaeda attacks.

      Simonson indicated yesterday that a 5 million-dose increase was around the corner.

      "Delivery of the product to the stockpile will begin very soon after the contract award and will have a direct impact on our preparedness," said the assistant secretary, who heads the department's Public Health Emergency Preparedness Office.

      In his wide-ranging statement on the state of U.S. anti-WMD treatments, vaccines and countermeasures, Simonson also said the department expects next month to begin taking delivery of a supply of liquid potassium iodide to protect children's thyroids from the effects of radiation.

      Health and Human Services also recently issued requests for information from the drug industry to help the department project the timeline for development of countermeasures against nerve agents and acute radiation syndrome and of new anthrax treatments, he said.


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