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U.S. will provide $11M for smallpox, monkeypox vaccine production

A line forms at a monkeypox vaccination clinic at Balboa Park in Encino, Calif., on Aug. 6. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/c3f789259e7b7f6596f422b267fab175/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
A line forms at a monkeypox vaccination clinic at Balboa Park in Encino, Calif., on Aug. 6. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 29 (UPI) -- The United States will provide about $11 million to produce a vaccine that prevents against smallpox and monkeypox, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Monday.

Grand River Aseptic Manufacturing, based in Grand Rapids, Mich., will receive the funds to purchase the necessary equipment to make the Jynneos vaccine and hire staff to operate the manufacturing line, the HHS said in a press release.

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The Jynneos jab was developed by the Danish company Bavarian Nordic, which made an agreement with GRAM earlier this month to fill and finish the vaccine in the United States.

Production at the GRAM facility is expected to begin later this year, which the HHS notes is about nine months ahead of a typical schedule for this type of work.

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"We continue to build on our efforts to secure and make safe and effective vaccines readily available," HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in the statement.

"This new agreement solidifies a domestic manufacturing capability that will bring us more vaccine sooner to end this outbreak."

The United States has ordered 5.5 million vials of the vaccine from Denmark and under the terms of that procurement, Bavarian Nordic agreed to the technology transfer that would allow GRAM to manufacture 2.5 million of those vials.

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Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show there have been 17,432 cases of monkeypox in the United States with no deaths. More than 47,000 people have been diagnosed with the illness worldwide.

Monkeypox, which first emerged in the 1970s in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, was identified in Britain in May and has since been confirmed in countries around the world and all 50 U.S. states.

Symptoms generally include several days of flu-like illness and swollen lymph nodes followed by a blister or pimple-like rash. It commonly spreads through direct contact with an infectious rash, scabs or bodily fluid, or touching items that have previously touched a rash or fluid.

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