Merck inks deal on tetanus, diphtheria vaccine
WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. - April 21, 2010 -- Merck & Co. has entered a deal with nonprofit vaccine maker MassBiologics to distribute its vaccine against tetanus and diphtheria, in the big drugmaker's latest move to remain dominant in vaccines.
Merck says it will start distributing the Td vaccine in June, throughout the U.S. except for Massachusetts. The vaccine will still be distributed in that state by MassBiologics, a 116-year-old vaccine developer now run by the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
Tetanus and diphtheria are both bacterial illnesses whose incidence has greatly been reduced by vaccines. Tetanus, also called lockjaw, kills about one in five infected patients. Diphtheria, which is spread by coughing and sneezing, can cause temporary paralysis and abnormal heart rhythms.
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