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New Vaccine to Tackle Rabies in Dogs

Scientists here have developed a vaccine that can effectively eliminate rabies in dogs//.

The vaccine, in the form of a small oral capsule, has been developed by scientists at the High Security Animal Disease Laboratory (HSADL).

When scattered on the road, the capsule attracts stray dogs due to its artificial taste enhancers - like that of meat - and the animal eats it. Once inside the dog's mouth, the capsule bursts and the medicine mixes with the animal's saliva and is absorbed in the tonsil and pharynx. The medicine kills the rabies virus that is usually present in the blood and saliva of a symptomatic rabid animal.

The drug has been tested on 31 stray dogs in Bhopal over two years.

India has one of the highest prevalence of human rabies, and dogs, especially stray, are responsible for transmission of the virus.

"The government of India spends over Rs.3 billion annually on the treatment of dog bites. About Rs.300 million is spent on the control of rabies alone. However, over 20,000 people in the country die every year of rabid dog bites," said HSADL director H.K. Pradhan.

"The vaccine has no side effects and is 100 percent effective," he said. The oral capsule, besides being more effective, is also simpler to administer than the present tedious system of two intra-muscular anti-rabies injections, to be given after in a gap of six months, said Pradhan.


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