FDA OKs 1st drug to treat smallpox, in case of terror attack

This 1975 microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a cluster of smallpox viruses. On Friday, July 13, 2

This undated photo provided by SIGA in July 2018 shows capsules of the drug TPOXX. On Friday, July 13, 2018, U.S. regulators announced the approval of

U.S. regulators have approved the first treatment for smallpox — a deadly disease that was wiped out four decades ago — in case the virus is used in a terror attack.

Smallpox, which is highly contagious, was eradicated worldwide by 1980 after a huge vaccination campaign.

But people born since then haven't been vaccinated, and small samples were saved for research purposes, leaving the possibility it could be used as a biological weapon.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the drug, called TPOXX (TEE'-pochs), on Friday. The maker, SIGA Technologies of New York, has already delivered 2 million treatments for stockpiling by the government.

To test the treatment, animals were infected with a similar virus and then given the drug. Ninety percent survived.