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Anthrax vaccine contract for HPA
THE Health Protection Agency has been awarded a £4 million contract by the US government to develop a next-generation anthrax vaccine at its facilities in Porton.
The programme, which could be worth up to £14 million if all project milestones are met, aims to develop a vaccine that can be delivered by fewer doses than currently required, and an intra-nasal spray.
Dr Roger Hinton, principal investigator and head of development and production at HPA Porton, said: “We are delighted to achieve this award which is recognition of our world-leading status in the field of anthrax vaccine research and development -– we already manufacture anthrax vaccine for the UK and our expertise in this area is essential for the success of this programme.”
The vaccine against anthrax is only recommended for those at highest risk of infection, for example people working with animal hides, in abattoirs or laboratory staff who may be handling the organism.
However, attempts have been made to weaponise anthrax which could lead to inhalation of the organism.
Although potential acts of biological terrorism are considered a low probability, governments across the world have invested significant resources and expertise to ensure they are well prepared to respond to a deliberate release of anthrax.
Dr Howard Tranter, HPA business development manager, said: “The HPA has a long track record of success in the development of vaccines and therapeutics and this multi-million dollar award is further evidence of the important role we can play in helping our partners worldwide in the key development of future biological products.”