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HHS to Receive $32M Worth of Smallpox Drug

While smallpox may not be in headlines today, the illness (treated with tecovirimat) remains a threat.

The Department of US Health and Human Services (HHS) will soon receive roughly $32 million worth of oral tecovirimat from SIGA technologies, according to a SIGA press release.

“SIGA is pleased to continue to deliver tecovirimat to HHS to ensure robust preparedness for a potential smallpox outbreak,” said Phil Gomez, PhD, CEO of SIGA Technologies, in the press release. “As the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated, preparing in advance to address potential biologic threats is essential for rapid and effective response. Maintaining a supply of treatments, like TPOXX, to combat smallpox is part of a long-standing global commitment to a smallpox emergency response. Smallpox remains one of the most horrific and devastating diseases ever known.”

While smallpox may not be in headlines today, the illness (treated with tecovirimat) remains a threat. Given the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, maintaining medical supply-side preparedness is seen in a new and more urgent light.

“These deliveries, valued at approximately $32 million, are the initial deliveries of the contract option exercises announced in April 2020,” statement authors wrote. ”The previously-announced option exercises under the 2018 contract with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at HHS, are worth a total of approximately $101.3 million for the procurement of oral tecovirimat.”

The deliveries are intended to maintain national preparedness and are expected finished by April 2021. The contract SIGA has with BARDA contains up to about $414 million of procurement-related options remaining.