FDA approves new smallpox vaccine

WASHINGTON The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new vaccine against smallpox called, ACAM2000. The drug inoculates people who are at high risk of exposure to the virus.

The disease has been declared extinct by world health authorities for almost 30 years now, but since Sept. 11 concerns arose over using smallpox and other infections as weapons. With that in mind, the Centers for Disease Control has already stockpiled 192.5 million doses of the vaccine.

Smallpox is caused by the variola virus, which spreads through close contact with infected individuals or contaminated objects. ACAM2000 is made using a pox virus called vaccinia, which is related to but different from the virus that causes smallpox.

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