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Mad Dogs and Microbiologists

Guest blogger William C. Summers, Yale University School of Medicine, authors a post at Small Things Considered about the potential for a new rabies vaccine as evidenced in a recent PLoS paper titled "Effective preexposure and postexposure prophylaxis of rabies with a highly attenuated recombinant rabies virus."

"Both Pasteur's dilemma and the need for miracles, however, may soon be relegated to the dustbin of medical history. A recent report in PNAS by Bernhard Dietzchold and his colleagues at the Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia suggests that a new approach to rabies vaccines may make it possible to treat rabies infections effectively even after some time has elapsed. Drawing on new understanding of the pathogenesis of rabies, including its replication and its expression of the relevant immunity-inducing antigens, these workers designed a highly attenuated—but highly effective—vaccine strain of rabies that shows promise as a significantly improved post-exposure treatment for rabies."

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