Madagascar Plague Epidemic Shows Importance of Vaccine Development

Deadly plague epidemic rages in Madagascar

An epidemic of pneumonic plague has been raging in Madagascar since late August, killing over 300 as of early October. This deadly lung infection is caused by the same Yersinia pestis bacterium that causes bubonic plague, which wiped out around 60% of Europe’s population in the 14th century. In pneumonic form, the plague spreads easily through coughing, and can infect rapidly in dense urban area. Without quick treatment with effective antibiotics, it can rapidly turn deadly.

The plague’s combination of lethality and infectiousness makes it an ideal weapon for bioterrorists seeking to inflict maximum pain and death, particularly in densely populated urban centers. The ability of government, military, and health authorities to not only react to, but proactively protect against infectious disease is thus a crucial concern for homeland and global security, military readiness, and counter-terrorism.

Greffex has been constructing a candidate plague vaccine, as well as a combined plague and anthrax vaccine. Greffex’s GreVAX technology platform was constructed to allow rapid development and manufacturing of vaccines, a crucial concern when it comes to preparedness against bioterror attacks and epidemics.

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