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TNXP: Developing New Smallpox Vaccine

TNX-801: An Improved SmallPox Vaccine

On March 2, 2017, Tonix Pharmaceuticals Holding Corp. (TNXP) announced that the company had successfully synthesized a vaccine that potentially protects against smallpox. The vaccine candidate (TNX-801) is a live form of the horsepox virus and has already demonstrated protective activity in mice. The company is hopeful that the newly synthesized vaccine will be safer to use than the currently available vaccine (Sanofi’s ACAM2000), which is not utilized as a prophylactic vaccine due to safety concerns not outweighing the potential benefit, however it is kept as a national stockpile in the event of a viral outbreak.


The term smallpox refers to an infectious disease, now eradicated, that was caused by one of two virus variants, Variola major and Variola minor. Infection resulted in the development of a maculopapular rash along with raised, fluid-filled blisters. Mortality rates differed depending on which strain of the virus was contracted; those infected with V. major had a morality rate of 15-45% while those infected with V. minor had a 1-5% mortality rate (Behbehani, 1983).

Following a vigorous worldwide vaccination program, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared smallpox eradicated in 1979. However, there are two “official” smallpox stocks kept in storage; one at the Center’s for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia and the other at Russia’s State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology VECTOR. Some have speculated that large amounts of weaponized smallpox “disappeared” in the breakup of the former Soviet Union, which could have been transferred to rogue nations. While the U.S. civilian population is not vaccinated, U.S. troops that are prepared to deploy to the Korean peninsula continue to be vaccinated as a precautionary measure. Lastly, in 2014, several vials of smallpox were found at the Food...