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NIH awards LIAI major grant to test safety of new smallpox treatment
Date:5/8/2008

he treatment will be there.

Dr. Crotty said further testing of the human antibody for safety and efficacy will be conducted using highly sophisticated animal models. We cant actually do these experiments in humans because it would be extremely dangerous and absurd to purposefully expose people to the smallpox virus, he said, noting that no live smallpox virus will be used in any of the studies. We will use experimental animal systems that can show that this antibody would work in humans without actually testing it on infected humans. Dr. Crotty said the anti-H3 human antibody has already proven to be effective in animal testing protocols that the FDA used to license the only currently existing smallpox treatment.

In that model, our antibody worked much better at treating smallpox than the currently licensed therapy, he said. The existing therapy provides only modest protection and is difficult to make because it must be purified from the blood of people who have recently had the smallpox vaccine. This is another reason our treatment is so appealing, Dr. Crotty said. Not only does the anti-H3 antibody provide better protection, but it can easily be produced in very large quantities for stockpiling.

The smallpox virus has been the subject of intense research interest worldwide in the last several years, prompted by bioterrorism concerns. The virus was mostly eradicated in the U.S. early in the 20th century and vaccinations for the general public were ended in 1972. But in the aftermath of 9-11, new concerns have arisen that the smallpox virus could be used as a bioterrorist agent. Disease experts fear that samples of the smallpox virus may have fallen into the hands of terrorists or dangerous countries at some point. This concern has led to the creation of worldwide stockpiles of the smallpox vaccine over the last several years.

While we do have a smallpox vaccine, there are concerns because people who are immuno-compr
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Contact: Bonnie Ward
contact@liai.org
619-303-3160
La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology
Source:Eurekalert

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