Danish firm expects to sell smallpox vaccine to US

first_imgApr 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”last_img read more

A fan threw an orange toward Patrick Ewing 33 years ago — chaos ensued

first_img Comments On his way to the Carrier Dome, Jan. 28, 1985, Frank Strange, a 19-year-old Syracuse fan, grabbed an orange from his kitchen and stuffed it in his coat pocket.Strange wanted to throw the fruit on the court when the Orange scored its first basket. It was a tradition for fans to throw oranges toward the court when that happened.About three minutes into the game, Strange reached into his coat pocket and realized he forgot to throw it. He turned to his friend, who told him to “Get rid of it.” Georgetown’s center, Patrick Ewing, stepped up to the free-throw line.Fans threw their hands up in unison, swaying them left and right while screaming. The distraction was perfect timing, Strange thought.He launched the orange toward the court and it crashed behind the backboard.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“I just remember thinking, ‘This is crazy,’” Ewing said in an email. “The Carrier Dome is a hostile environment.”On Saturday, when Georgetown (7-1) travels to play Syracuse (6-2), Ewing will return to the Carrier Dome for the first time as a member of the Hoyas since that 1985 game. But aside from 43-year SU head coach Jim Boeheim, Ewing won’t be the only returner from the Jan. 1985 game. Somewhere, in the upper deck, will sit Strange, who threw the orange toward the court 33 years ago.“Friend of mine gave me some season tickets,” Strange said. “I think he did it on purpose so I don’t throw anything.” “What’s wrong?” one of the people would ask his friends.“Well, he’s right there!” they’d say, pointing toward Strange.That was back then. But, even three years ago, Strange received a text message from Paul Dooling, one of his friends. “Happy 30th anniversary,” the text read.Strange was confused. It was January, and he and his wife got married on October. He asked his friend what the text meant. It had been 30 years since the orange hit the backboard.Strange, now 52, isn’t the same 19-year-old he once was, though people still joke with him about throwing items whenever he attends a game.On Saturday, when Ewing returns to the Carrier Dome, Strange said he wanted to bring an orange and have the NBA Hall of Famer sign it.“I have a feeling,” Strange joked, “he’d probably smash it over my head.” Facebook Twitter Google+center_img ***Ewing’s hand quickly shot up, pointing toward the hoop. Syracuse’s Michael Brown hop-stepped and slid the orange off the court with his foot. Then-Georgetown head coach John Thompson yelled as he ran past his bench and near the scorer’s table. Thompson took his team off the court, forcing them to sit on the bench.A couple minutes later, as the referees conversed with the two coaches, Boeheim grabbed the microphone and threatened the Carrier Dome crowd. If any other object were to be thrown onto the court, Boeheim said he would ask for a technical foul on his own team.Between section 101 and 102 where Strange was seated 20 rows up, stadium security frantically searched for the culprit after Ewing’s shot rimmed out.“Thank God they didn’t have cell phones or anything back then,” Strange quipped, “because we would have gotten thrown out.”Fans around Strange pointed toward him and his friends. Nerves kicked in and Strange looked at his friends before pointing toward random people in the crowd. Whatever worked, so they didn’t get thrown out.Security was never able to figure out who exactly did it. There was no proof and no one knew for sure — except Strange and his friends.Eventually, security gave up, though they stuck around just in case anything else happened. It took five-and-a-half minutes before the game resumed and Ewing retook his free throws. Syracuse would upset the No. 1 team in the nation, 65-63, off Pearl Washington’s game-winner.Laura Angle | Digital Design Editor***Not many people know the real identity of the orange thrower, but the memory still lives on. At Brad’s Extra Innings, a bar in East Syracuse, Strange and his friends hung out for a few drinks. SU sports would be on, or at the very least discussed, and sometimes, they’d talk about big games in which the Orange played.At the bar, one person would mention the orange being thrown and the hecticness that ensued. Strange’s friends, sitting just a few spots down, would laugh. Published on December 5, 2018 at 11:46 pm Contact Charlie: csdistur@syr.edu | @charliedisturcolast_img read more