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International Collaboration Takes Aim at Rabies

culture. The antibody was then tested in a rodent model of disease, using rabies vaccine and the HuMAB 17 C7, which fully protected the animals from developing the fatal disease.

Furthermore, monoclonal antibodies can be produced in large quantities, at much lower costs than blood products and can be stockpiled in liquid form, or freeze-dried, so they are easier to distribute to remote sites. And since MABs are not derived from serum, they have none of the safety issues associated with typical human blood products.

As part of the collaboration agreement, scientists from the MBL will work with their counterparts in India to help the Serum Institute build its own internal MAB production facility, thereby bringing this leading-edge biologics technology to India for the first time. Serum Institute already produces much of the rabies vaccine used in India and now with the new technology of MAB will be positioned to deliver full protection to exposed individuals. The new MAB will be studied jointly under US FDA and Indian FDA regulations resulting in eventual world-wide distribution. “The Serum Institute feels this is a unique opportunity to use cutting-edge technology for saving lives across the globe,” Dr. Poonawalla said.

To formalize the collaboration agreement, and to continue the planning for the clinical trial and manufacturing process, a delegation from the MBL and Medical School traveled to India last month. “It is our hope this collaboration around rabies will be the first of many joint initiatives with the Serum Institute,” Dr. Ambrosino said. “This is an exciting partnership, one that I believe holds out hope to address many serious public health problems in the world today.”

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