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New treatment for rabies advances after successful phase 1 trial in India
Date:9/16/2010

BOSTON, Mass.With the potential to save tens of thousands of lives each year, a new cost-effective rabies therapy developed by MassBiologics at the University of Massachusetts and the Serum Institute of India took an important step forward with positive results from a Phase 1 study. The recently completed study showed that a new monoclonal antibody (RAB-1) resulted in protective antibody levels in the serum of treated subjects equal to the current standard of treatment, which is often not available in the areas of the world hit hardest by rabies.

Details of the study were reported on September 14 at the American Society for Microbiology's 50th annual Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) meeting in Boston, Massachusetts in a poster presentation titled, "A Human Monoclonal Antibody to Rabies Virus Provides Protective Neutralizing Activity: Results of a Phase 1 Study," by researchers from MassBiologics; the Serum Institute of India in Pune, India; and King Edward Memorial Hospital (KEM) in Mumbai, India.

"We are very encouraged by the results from this trial," said Donna Ambrosino, MD, executive director of MassBiologics and a professor of pediatrics at the Medical School.

Subhash Kapre, PhD, of the Serum Institute of India, agreed saying, "The next step for clinical studies is already in the planning, and we are hopeful that this new therapy will have a major impact on rabies across the globe in the not too distant future."

The World Health Organization estimates that more than 10 million people are exposed to rabid animals each year, resulting in more than 55,000 deaths. Approximately 95 percent of human deaths from rabies occur in Asia and Africa. Untreated, the rabies virus causes an acute encephalitis that is fatal once symptoms appear; however the infection is preventable by prompt treatment following exposure, a procedure known as post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) that involves adminis
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Contact: Michael Cohen
Michael.Cohen@umassmed.edu
508-868-4778
University of Massachusetts Medical School
Source:Eurekalert

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