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Clinical trial for rabies monoclonal antibody
Date:8/7/2012

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While deaths from rabies in the United States are rare, rabies remains a significant problem with approximately 95 percent of human deaths from rabies occurring in Asia and Africa. Death from rabies is preventable with timely post-exposure prophylaxis consisting of wound hygiene, administration of rabies immune globulin, and active immunization with rabies vaccine. In persons wounded by a suspected rabid animal, the vaccine works to stimulate the immune system to fight the rabies virus, while the rabies immune globulin provides immediate protection with neutralizing antibodies before the immune system begins making its own antibodies.

Human rabies immune globulin, derived from human blood, is an expensive product and carries a potential risk of contamination with blood-borne pathogens. Equine immune globulin (eRIG), derived from horse serum, is used in many parts of the world, but its use is associated with significant adverse effects such as anaphylaxis or serum sickness. Both products are often in short supply and costly for inhabitants of areas of the world where rabies is endemic. In India alone, it is estimated only 2 percent of patients whose wounds require the rabies immune globulin receive appropriate post-exposure treatment.

To address the supply and adverse effects issues, MassBiologics and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention developed an anti- rabies monoclonal antibody with the goal that it might be used in place of hRIG or eRIG. MassBiologics then partnered with the Serum Institute to develop and manufacture the monoclonal antibody in India. "A monoclonal antibody for rabies has the advantage of being able to be produced in large quantities, at much lower costs than blood products," said Prasad Kulkarni, MD, medical director at the Serum Institute of India, Ltd. "And since they are not derived from blood serum, they have none of the safety issues associated with human blood products. If the primary endpo
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Contact: Mark L. Shelton
mark.shelton@umassmed.edu
508-856-2000
University of Massachusetts Medical School
Source:Eurekalert

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