The vaccine is being manufactured by a U.S. subsidiary of the Cambridge-based U.K. biotechnology company Acambis, formerly known as Peptide Therapeutics. Delivery to the U.S. government's Center for Disease Control in Atlanta is due to start from mid-2004, the report said.
"At the moment we are going through the process of developing and licensing the vaccine, but under the contract we have the right to sell it to anyone who wants it," a company spokeswoman said.
"When the time comes we will be marketing it to other governments, including the United Kingdom. It certainly would be a logical step for them to take."
If a virus such as smallpox was released, the speed of modern communications could spread the infection all over the world in days. The latest contract for smallpox vaccine is against a disease that no longer exists. It was eradicated from the planet in 1980 and only two research institutions - one in the US and one in Russia - still retain stocks of the virus.
Copyright 2001 by United Press International.
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