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Developing a Safer and More Effective Way to Deliver Rabies Antibodies
Date:2/5/2009

INCHEON, South Korea, Feb. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Celltrion, Inc., a South Korean biopharmaceutical company, have signed a Letter of Intent to permit joint research on the development of novel antibodies to protect people exposed to the rabies virus.

Medical attention for a person exposed to rabies is a two-step procedure. First, rabies immune globulin (RIG) is given to provide immediate antibodies neutralizing the rabies virus. Thereafter, the patient receives five doses of vaccine to build active immunity against the rabies virus.

Active immunity is detectable after the first week of vaccination so RIG is essential at the first stage of medical attention before a person develops their own antibodies from vaccine.

There are currently two types of RIG: human and equine. Human RIG can sometimes be in short supply due to manufacturing restrictions. It is expensive, and there are regulatory concerns because it comes from human blood. Because equine RIG is derived from horses, there are concerns that it may not provide the proper antibody response, and there are international animal care and use issues because of the involvement of horses in its production. In developing countries, where the majority of human rabies cases occur, both types of RIG are frequently unavailable.

The CDC/Celltrion collaboration addresses these problems by using cell culture to manufacture RIG of a new generation, which is expected to be safer, more effective and affordable.

"The CDC is excited to begin a novel research collaboration with Celltrion on the development of additional products that can provide immunity to rabies. We believe this effort holds great public health promise toward the prevention of this deadly disease, especially in developing countries," said Charles E. Rupprecht, V.M.D., chief of the CDC's Rabies Program.

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SOURCE Celltrion, Inc.
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