Phase 3 trial shows MVA vaccine likely protects against smallpox

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(CIDRAP) – In today’s New England Journal of Medicine, researchers describe the phase 3 trial results of the newly approved modified vaccinia Ankara vaccine (MVA) and said the vaccine is safe and likely effective against smallpox, which is caused by the variola virus.

Though smallpox was declared eradicated in 1980, the usefulness of a smallpox vaccine has been touted as a way to protect against the variola virus if used as a bioweapon, or if the virus is reintroduced into a naive population through a lab accident. A smallpox vaccine could also protect against other orthopoxviruses, such as monkeypox.

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