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DoD to Re-look Anthrax Vaccine Issue, Rumsfeld Says

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 18, 2001 – DoD will look at ways to kick- start U.S. production of anthrax vaccine that, up to now, has been manufactured by just one company in Michigan, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said today.

Rumsfeld remarked to Pentagon reporters that DoD is going to try to save its anthrax vaccine program with manufacturer BioPort. He noted that other efforts to produce anthrax vaccine for the U.S. military had "failed over a period of years."

DoD's business relationship with BioPort to acquire anthrax vaccine may or may not be savable, he added.

BioPort was DoD's sole contractor for anthrax vaccine. The company has had quality control problems and hasn't produced any vaccine for some time. Its manufacturing operations currently lack Food and Drug Administration approval.

Rumsfeld said he discussed the vaccine issue today with S.C. "Pete" Aldridge, defense undersecretary for acquisition, technology and logistics, and David S.C. Chu, defense undersecretary for personnel and readiness. He said they or their representatives will meet with Department of Health and Human Services officials to discuss the vaccine situation.

Rumsfeld said DoD would try to fashion an arrangement that would give BioPort one more chance to supply an FDA-approved anthrax vaccine.

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