SIGA Technologies takes part in Israel's simulated bioattack

Representatives from SIGA Technologies took part in Israel's recent "Operation Orange Flame 4" biological defense drill conducted by the Defense Ministry and Health Ministry in conjunction with the Israel Defense Forces Home Front Command.

The drill, which included a response to a smallpox outbreak that affected approximately 1,000 people, included Dr. Erik Rose, the CEO of SIGA Technologies. SIGA Technologies is developing ST-246, a smallpox anti-viral medicine, for the U.S. Department of Health.

In a statement released by SIGA Technologies, the company said that it had contracted with the Israeli defense and health ministries to immediately begin selling Israel tens of thousands of anti-viral medications against smallpox.

Enough vaccines are believed to be held by Israel to inoculate its entire population against smallpox, but a terror attack using the virus could infect a large number of people before a vaccination campaign could reach the whole population. That type of campaign is expected to take several weeks.

As part of Operation Orange Flame 4, a national inoculation operation was simulated. The exercise also included 1,000 mock-infected persons as well as treatment and isolation of 20,000 others with the disease.

A Health Ministry spokeswoman told that the exercise included the mock-purchase of smallpox medication.

Smallpox is responsible for more deaths than any disease in history, with the estimated death count from the 20th century believed to be between 300 and 500 million people.