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Rabies vaccine bites back

Pete Wilton

A new simple and economical way of vaccinating against rabies could benefit patients in developing countries.

Receiving rapid and effective treatment - including vaccination and injection of anti-rabies antibodies - soon after a bite from a rabid animal is the key to surviving the disease. Yet current vaccines are very expensive (around $40) and difficult to administer so that people in developing countries often do not receive adequate treatment.

A new approach, developed by Mary Warrell and colleagues from Oxford's Centre for Clinical Vaccinology and Tropical Medicine, could offer a solution.

The technique involves injecting patients with a conventional vaccine in four places on their body on the same day. Tests with healthy patients have shown that this quicker and more economical method is just as effective at stimulating the production of anti-rabies antibodies as more expensive and more time-consuming existing methods.

The researchers believe that their approach could be suitable for use anywhere in the world where finances and resources are stretched and that it's likely to be more practical for where multiple patients need to be treated on the same day.

Hat tip to:  Medical News Today