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US Spends $25Mln to Purchase, Stockpile Treatment For Anthrax Attack

© AP Photo / Victor R. CaivanoSample of billions of Anthrax bacteria
Sample of billions of Anthrax bacteria - Sputnik International
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – Project BioShield, a US program to prepare for terror attacks with weapons of mass destruction, plans to spend $25.2 million on an anthrax treatment for the Strategic National Stockpile, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced in a press release on Monday.

"Protecting the American people from 21st century threats, such as anthrax, remains a high priority for the department," HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Robert Kadlec said. "This procurement under Project BioShield ensures we continue to have treatment options for people exposed to anthrax and increases the number of courses available in an emergency."

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Elusys Therapeutics Inc. of the state of New Jersey will receive $25.2 million for an antibody-based therapy that targets a deadly toxin produced by the anthrax-causing bacteria, the release said.

Previous treatments have relied on antibiotics, which target the bacteria and must be administered shortly after exposure before a buildup of the toxin, the release noted.

Anthrax emerged as a potential terror weapon a week after the September 11, 2001 attacks, when letters laced with anthrax spores began arriving at congressional and media offices, killing five people and infecting 17 others.

Eight years later, the FBI closed its investigation, concluding that a US bioweapons expert who had committed suicide was probably responsible.

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