The Naval Health Research Center (NHRC) recently concluded its study in partnership with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to bring a smallpox vaccine through a final safety-study trial.
According to the Naval Medical Research and Development newsletter from January, the NHRC led the study across six military facilities, ultimately collecting approximately 1,600 samples. While the vaccine tested had already been approved by the FDA and used by the public, Lt. Cmdr. Lori Perry, a preventive medicine physician and the study's principal researcher, said it is common to do safety studies after marketing a treatment option.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the smallpox vaccine is safe, effective and was tantamount to eliminating naturally occurring cases of smallpox in the United States in 1972.
“Military service members still receive the vaccine if they are deploying to an area where the threat of smallpox is present,” Perry said.
With the bulk of the research finished, the NHRC team has the administrative task of turning over its data to the FDA and the vaccine's manufacturer, Sanofi Pasteur.
The research team was commended by Capt. Jacquelin Rychnovsky, the NHRC's commanding officer.
“This study directly contributed to the safety and readiness of our service men and women,” Rychnovsky said. “We appreciate the collaborative efforts from our Army, Marine Corps and Air Force counterparts at the surveillance sites. Their roles were integral to the success of the study.”