DALLAS — Osmotics, the Denver-based skin care company known for its techno-based antiaging and dermatitis products, thinks it has an antidote to prevent adverse reactions to smallpox vaccinations, a hot topic with talk of chemical warfare and the Iraqi threat.
This story first appeared in the January 31, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The company’s findings were presented Thursday at a news conference in New York.
TriCerum, an antiaging and eczema treatment cream that’s formulated to help repair the skin’s lipid imbalance and barrier function, can prevent toxic and possibly deadly side effects of the smallpox vaccination in person’s suffering from eczema, claim Steve and Francine Porter, founders of Osmotics.
The smallpox vaccine, a live-virus innoculation, will soon be given to nearly a million members of the U.S. armed forces and health care workers. Although persons suffering from eczema and other skin diseases are excluded from the innoculation plan, it’s still possible for the live virus to be transmitted to eczema sufferers from a person who has received the vaccine, for up to 19 days.
“If transmitted to someone with eczema, the live smallpox virus can result in a severe rash and generalized infection known as eczema vaccinatum. In rare cases, EV is fatal,” according to Dr. Peter Elias, professor of dermatology at the University of California in San Francisco, and also one of Osmotics’ chief chemists and researchers.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, “disrupted skin in patients with atopic dermatitis [eczema] permits viral implantations,” a finding echoed by Elias’ research.
He said eczema sufferers lack a strong skin barrier and are ceramide deficient, resulting in clusters of small cracks in the skin that allow pathogens such as bacteria and viruses to enter the skin.
Elias said that TriCerum, a topical cream, contains the precise ratio of the skin’s lipids needed to correct the ceramide imbalance and help repair the skin barrier function, preventing second-hand infection of the smallpox virus.
Osmotics, with annual wholesale volume of about $10 million, produces several products that target specific skin care and dermatology problems, including Follicle Nutrient System, or FNS, a hair regrowth treatment that launched last January.