The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, directed by Dr. Anthony Fauci, last year paid $9.8 million to government researchers to test a monkeypox treatment. Some called the timing “curious” given the recent outbreak of the virus.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), directed by Dr. Anthony Fauci, last year paid $9.8 million to government researchers to test a monkeypox treatment, the National Pulse reported.

According to the National Institutes for Health (NIH), which oversees the NIAID, the research began Sept. 28, 2020 and will conclude Sept. 27, 2025. Its goal is to carry out a “randomized, placebo-controlled trial of the safety and efficacy of tecovirimat for the treatment of patients with monkeypox virus disease.” It is unclear if the grant provided for any payments in 2020.

The NIAID awarded the grant to the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research, a federally funded research and development center in Frederick, Maryland, supported by the National Cancer Institute.

According to the grant abstract:

“The similarity between monkeypox and the variola [smallpox] virus, coupled with concerns about the potential of the variola virus as a potential bioterrorism agent, have placed monkeypox treatments at the forefront of public health and scientific research agendas in many countries.”

On May 25, SIGA Technologies Inc. announced that it received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for an intravenous formulation of the antiviral tecovirimat (called TPOXX) for the treatment of smallpox.

Although smallpox was eradicated in 1980, the treatment was developed in the event smallpox were to be used as a bioweapon.

Read More: $9.8 Million Awarded Last Year by Fauci’s Agency to Test Monkeypox Treatment

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