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Drug Provides Monkeys Full Protection from Smallpox

Global Security Newswire

Tests at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have shown that an experimental drug provided test monkeys with complete protection against the smallpox virus, Datamonitor NewsWire reported yesterday (see GSN, Sept. 3).

Cynomolgus monkeys that received a high dose of the virus displayed no symptoms afterward, whether they were given the drug, SIGA-246, at the same time as the virus or 24 hours later. No smallpox lesions formed and there were no signs of side effects from the drug itself.

“We are particularly pleased because the amount of virus used in this study is equivalent to the level present in late-state disease in humans, which we believe signals that SIGA-246 can be used to prevent disease in humans,” said Dennis Hruby, chief scientific officer for manufacturer Siga Technologies, in a press release. “This test in nonhuman primates is as close as anyone can get to the real thing because there has not been any natural occurrence of smallpox since 1977” (Datamonitor NewsWire, Oct. 18).