South Korea in 2011 had to throw out roughly one-seventh of its 7-million-dose smallpox vaccine stockpile after government testing judged the doses to be ineffective (see GSN, Sept. 7, 2011). Approximately 4.6 million doses of the vaccine stock that remains have eclipsed their shelf-life.
Seoul has not initiated any program to replenish its smallpox vaccine stocks. The Korea Food and Drug Administration is assessing new indigenously manufactured vaccines that induce smallpox immunity by infecting individuals with the less severe cowpox. However, about one-fifth of the South Korean citizenry cannot safely receive replicating smallpox vaccines due to weakened immune systems.
South Korea has not reached out to Bavarian Nordic to place any orders for the Danish firm's nonreplicating vaccine, Cohn said. Nor has Seoul decided how much vaccine it wants to stockpile relative to the size of its populace. While the U.S. military has inoculated all troops stationed in the South against smallpox, the South Korean armed forces have not been similarly vaccinated.
The US solidified its order with Bavarian today...and in doing so affirmed it's commitment towards a preparedness strategy for smallpox.
"Bavarian Nordic Receives Contract Valued Up to USD 228 Million From the U.S. Government Securing Continued Production and Deliveries of IMVAMUN(r) Smallpox Vaccine
New Order Replenishes Existing Doses in U.S. Strategic National Stockpile, and Helps Bridge to the Next-Generation Freeze-Dried Formulation is Available
KVISTGAARD, Denmark, April 16, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Bavarian Nordic A/S (OMX:BAVA) announced today that BARDA (Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority), a division of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), has awarded the company a contract valued at up to USD 228 million for the continued supply of the Company's IMVAMUNE(r) smallpox vaccine. The first USD 110 million of the new order is secured, and the remaining portion will be secured based on availability of funds in 2014. Under the agreement, payments of additional USD 37 million will be received, associated with the delivery of the original 20 million dose order."
“Rogue regimes and lone villains could exploit these scientific methods for deadly aims. In the extreme, such an attack could play like the creepy plot of the 1995 film “Twelve Monkeys,” where a wicked scientist engineers a virus that nearly drives mankind to extinction. With the advent of what some have called “garage biology,” such scenarios are no longer wildly implausible. The most recent attacks only serve to reinforce the existence of evil motives that continue to search for these means of wicked ends.”
The monkeys didn’t die in this scenario. That’s good for us, right?
"Bavarian Nordic had expected a new order in June 2012…. The new award will ensure the U.S. has a total of 20 million doses of Bavarian Nordic’s smallpox vaccine in stock in case of a public health emergency, the company said yesterday in a press release. Bavarian Nordic is guaranteed to receive $110 million for 4 million doses of its Imvamune vaccine. The remaining $118 million, for another 4 million doses, hinges on the availability of U.S. funding next year, company officials said during the call."