Saturday, December 11, 2004

Experts critique anthrax-vaccine plan

In ordering a new $877 million anthrax vaccine last month, the federal government said it was a major step toward creating a "bioshield" to protect Americans from germ warfare. But delivering that protection could be difficult: The vaccine is unproved in humans, the manufacturer has legal and accounting troubles, and health officials are not prepared to distribute the vaccine quickly if it is needed.
Bush administration officials, as well as the top executives at VaxGen, the manufacturer in California, say they are confident they can fulfill their promise.

"This program needs to be a success for all of us -- the federal government, for the company and for the American public," said Lance K. Gordon, VaxGen's chief executive.

But some scientists say the effectiveness of the vaccine, which is to be delivered starting early in 2006, is still in doubt.

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