BIOTERROR SCAN: BARDA contract for antibiotic, rinderpest media campaign

May 29, 2013

BARDA contract to support antibiotic for anthrax, tularemia
Cempra Inc. of Chapel Hill, N.C., has been awarded a federal contract worth up to $58 million to develop an antibiotic that could be used to treat children for anthrax, tularemia, or community-acquired bacterial pneumonia (CABP), according to the company and the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In a press release, Cempra said the drug, solithromycin, is a macrolide that is currently in phase 3 testing for treating CABP in adults. Robin Robinson, PhD, director of HHS's Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), said in an HHS press release, "The development of this new antibiotic could help address a gap in our nation's preparedness and could bolster clinicians' ability to treat drug-resistant bacterial infections, which represent a growing public health threat." If approved, solithromycin would be the first oral antibiotic licensed in decades to treat children with CABP, he said. Cempra said the contract includes $17.7 million for a 2-year base period and can be extended for up to 5 years with a total $58 million. The full funding would support phase 1, phase 2, and most phase 2/3 studies on a pediatric oral suspension, oral capsules, and the intravenous formulation for CABP, the company said. It would also fund non-human primate studies of activity against anthrax and tularemia.
May 28 Cempra press release
May 24 HHS press release

OIE launches media campaign about risk of rinderpest virus release
The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) is launching a media campaign calling on countries to safeguard or destroy any remaining stocks of rinderpest virus, which are still held in "dozens" of laboratories even though the disease was declared eradicated in 2011. With support from the United Kingdom, the OIE has produced a video that urges governments to "respect their commitment to OIE and either destroy the virus, or safely store it in a minimum number of facilities approved by OIE and FAO [the UN Food and Agriculture Organization]." The video explains the risk of virus escape because of negligence, accidents, or deliberate acts and provides a checklist of steps to prevent that. The video, presented in English, Spanish, French, and Russian, will be shown on digital media in various regions of the world over 4 weeks, the OIE said. Rinderpest, which killed millions of cattle and caused economic and social disruption, and smallpox are the only diseases that have been eradicated.
May 29 OIE press release

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