Apr 18, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – Bavarian Nordic, a Danish company, announced this week that the US government plans to buy 20 million doses of the company’s Imvamune smallpox vaccine, but a US official said no decision has been made yet.Imvamune is Bavarian’s version of modified vaccinia Ankara (MVA), which is considered safer than the conventional smallpox vaccine, particularly for people with weakened immune systems, pregnant women, and children.”Following a competitive RFP process, Bavarian Nordic has received notification from the US Department of Health and Human Services that it intends to procure 20 million doses of the company’s third-generation IMVAMUNE smallpox vaccine for the strategic national stockpile,” the company said in an Apr 16 statement.But Holly Babin, an HHS spokeswoman in Washington, DC, said no decision has been made on the vaccine. “We can’t comment on it now,” she told CIDRAP News, but added that an announcement is expected within the next few weeks.Bavarian Nordic and the British drug company Acambis each received an HHS contract in early 2003 to develop and test a vaccine based on MVA. In September 2004 HHS awarded each company a further contract calling for production of 500,000 doses of the vaccine and clinical trials. But Acambis announced in November 2006 that HHS had notified it that the company’s vaccine was too expensive.Bavarian said the expected HHS contract would require the company to win US Food and Drug Administration approval for use of the vaccine in healthy people and those with limited immunity.Peter Wulff, Bavarian’s chief executive officer, said the company plans to begin phase 3 clinical trials early in 2008 and expects to win a US license for the vaccine in 2010, according to an Apr 16 Bloomberg News story.”While the principal terms of the agreement [with HHS] have been reached, the contract is currently being finalized,” the company statement said. “It is expected to be the first procurement contract under the BioShield program since enactment of the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act in December 2006.”Bavarian said it has built a facility that can produce at least 40 million doses of Imvamune annually.The BioShield program was established in 2004 to promote the development of medical treatments for the effects of chemical, biological, and other unconventional weapons. But major drug companies showed little interest in the program. In passing the All-Hazards Preparedness Act in December, Congress tried to revitalize the program by authorizing partial payments to companies working under BioShield contracts before final delivery of their products.Existing smallpox vaccines are made with live vaccinia virus—a cousin of the smallpox virus—which in rare cases can cause serious or life-threatening side effects such as a severe rash or encephalitis. MVA is a strain of vaccinia that cannot replicate inside human cells and therefore cannot cause a severe or spreading infection, HHS has said.An MVA-based vaccine was found to be safe when it was given to 120,000 Germans in the 1970s, according to HHS. But research on MVA ended when smallpox was declared eradicated in 1980.Although smallpox was eradicated, disease experts fear that terrorists may have supplies of the virus, which the Soviet Union made in large quantities during the Cold War. Since 2001, HHS has stockpiled enough doses of the conventional smallpox vaccine to immunize the entire US population. The United States and Russia still hold samples of the smallpox virus for research purposes.See also:Oct 4, 2004, CIDRAP News story “Further contracts awarded for weakened smallpox vaccine”Feb 25, 2003, CIDRAP News story “HHS awards contracts to develop safer smallpox vaccine”Dec 15, 2006, CIDRAP News story “Congress passes public health preparedness bill”
But he still maintains hope that there will be an opportunity for him to take to the gridiron on Sundays.“It’s easy to get deterred or discouraged whenever you’re doubted so heavily,” Jarvis said. “(NFL scouts) have said I’m too small and that I’ve suffered too many injuries. And I understand that it’s a business, so I have to keep striving.”After being one of the top players in the WPIAL, Jarvis took his talents to Kent State, where he was an All-Mid American Conference (MAC) performer in two separate seasons.Still, Jarvis has a long list of skeptics that doubt his value to the league.Joe Butler has evaluated high school and college talent, nationally, for the past 35 years. He currently looks at these players for a local NFL agent that he’d like to remain nameless.“I do not think (Jarvis’) name will be called at this year’s draft,” Butler said. “Do I think he has a chance to get to a camp? Yes. And do I think he’s got a shot to impress when he gets there? Absolutely.”Jarvis amassed over 3,700 rushing yards over his four-year collegiate career, which is good for third all-time in Kent State history. That is one spot ahead of current Cleveland Brown’s wide receiver Joshua Cribbs and was good for second place amongst all active career rushers in major college football.In addition to his accomplishments on the field, he graduated from the University with a degree in Sports Management.“There were many obstacles that I had to get around to get to this point,” Jarvis mentioned.One of those was before the 2009 regular season when Jarvis suffered a season ending injury when he lacerated a rib against Boston College. Due to that he had to take a medical redshirt, but was granted a 6th year in the 2010-11 season.“Fighting all the injuries was definitely tough both mentally and physically,” he said. “It was really beginning to take a toll on me.”It has been a climb for Jarvis since being named an SI.com All-American team honorable mention (which was the same season he earned a spot on the All-MAC conference first team). That season, he rushed for 1,669 yards on 279 attempts.That year, he led the MAC in rushing yards per game with a 139.1 average, which also ranked fifth, nationally.“My sophomore season was amazing,” Jarvis said. “I had a tremendous amount of success executing plays when they were called and my offensive line did the same thing. It was a great time in my career.”After playing runningback his whole career, Jarvis moved on to the pass-happy Canadian Football League where, despite his size, he entered the Montreal Alouette’s camp as a slot receiver; a move that wasn’t unfathomable due to his success in college catching the ball. During that sophomore season, he caught 23 passes and led the team with 309 receiving yards.“They knew what kind of athlete I was,” he said. “And they knew I was going to take the opportunity head on and make the best of it.”He was cut before the beginning of the regular season, but the 175-pound running back is currently preparing for this year’s NFL draft that will take place in New York on Apr 26.“He has shown much resilience to be healthy and ready to cease an opportunity on a pro roster,” said Brandon Westbrook a close friend to Jarvis. “At the end of the day he has proven his worth on the field as a leader and record breaking running back, each and every chance he has had. The next team to take that chance will reap the rewards.”The New York based Westbrook is a Pittsburgh native and is the founder of Westbrook & Company, which is the marketing and management consultancy that will see Jarvis through his pursuit of the NFL. HOPING TO GO PRO—Eugene Jarvis, a four-year letterman at Kent State and former Central Catholic runningback carries the ball during a game. (Photo courtesy of Kent State athletics) by Malik VincentLike so many from the area, former Central Catholic and Kent State running back Eugene Jarvis is making a push to play football, professionally.Sure, he stands at a very compact 5-foot-6. And yes, Jarvis has battled injury all throughout his career as a Golden Flash.