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Trends Biotechnol. 2004 Aug;22(8):423-7.

Design and development of oral drugs for the prophylaxis and treatment of smallpox infection.

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Chimerix Incorporated, 11149 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.


Smallpox was eradicated by the World Health Organization (WHO) vaccination campaign in the 1970s and the variola virus was restricted to repositories in the United States and Russia. Recently, however, concerns have arisen about the possible existence of variola outside these sites and the potential for using the virus as a weapon of bioterror. The world population now has little residual immunity to smallpox and supplies of the smallpox vaccine are being reconstituted. Large numbers of individuals with various skin diseases or immunosuppression owing to AIDS or organ transplantation medications, or who are pregnant or have heart disease might not be ideal candidates for vaccination with the current live vaccines. It would be useful to have an orally active drug that could be self-administered in case of an outbreak of smallpox.

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