Danish biopharmaceuticals group Bavarian Nordic began deliveries of its Imvamune smallpox vaccine to the U.S. Strategic National Stockpile on Monday, the 30 year anniversary of the eradication of smallpox.
The delivery of Imvamune comes as part of a contract with the U.S. government to deliver 20 million doses of the vaccine. Deliveries of the vaccine were originally delayed beyond the end of 2009 following a U.S> Food and Drug Administration requirement that Bavarian Nordic make adjustments to its production facility.
Bavarian Nordic announced in March that all of the FDA requirements had been met and that shipments would begin in the first half of 2010.
The next-generation Imvamune smallpox vaccine is targeted for people who have a weakened immune system and who shouldn’t receive a conventional vaccine that is made with a live vaccinia virus. These vaccines have been found to cause potentially life-threatening side effects on rare occasions.
Imvamune instead contains a weakened form of the smallpox virus that isn’t able to replicate in humans.
Imvamune was developed and produced with funds from the Biomedical Research and Development Authority, which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Enough conventional vaccines have been stockpiled by the U.S. government to protect the entire population of the United States in the event of a smallpox bioterror attack.