US Purchases New Smallpox Vaccine

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The federal government is buying millions of doses of smallpox vaccine in a deal with a Danish drug company.

The five-year contract with Bavarian Nordic is worth 500 (m) million dollars and could be extended to about one-and-a-half (b) billion dollars.

The vaccine would be added to the Strategic National Stockpile, which already contains enough smallpox vaccine for every American.

The current vaccine was made using a live, replicating virus that can be life-threatening in rare instances. The new one contains a highly weakened form of the virus that can't replicate in humans.

It would be used to treat people with compromised immune systems in the event of a smallpox outbreak.

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