Smallpox Vaccine Can Be Stretched--US Study
A new study in the New England Journal of Medicine has found that the 15 million doses of smallpox vaccine held in a U.S. government stockpile could be safely diluted and still remain effective against the disease. The results of the study, which was led by Dr. Sharon Frey of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease's Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Unit, mean that as many as 75 million Americans could be inoculated against smallpox if an outbreak of the disease were to occur. The findings mean that the U.S. government will probably have enough time to obtain sufficient quantities of the vaccine to protect the entire population of the United States. According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the United States should have approximately 286 million doses of the smallpox vaccine by the end of this year, more than enough to cover the country's 285 million people.