With an increasing focus on bioterrorism preparedness (E. Russo, "Bioterrorism Preparedness," The Scientist, 15[1]:1, Jan. 8, 2001), researchers at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School are investigating new therapies to protect against a bioterrorist smallpox outbreak. Stuart N. Isaacs, assistant professor of medicine in the Penn Division of Infectious Diseases and John D. Lambert, professor in the Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine have received $1.1 million from the National Institutes of Health for a four-year study. According to Isaacs the ultimate goal of the project is to develop new immunotherapeutic agents for people experiencing complications from smallpox vaccination and possibly for treating smallpox virus infection itself. In the past, complications were treated with a preparation of vaccinia immune globulin obtained by blood donors. "However, this preparation is in very short supply and cannot be easily produced," he notes. Routine vaccination of populations stopped when the...

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