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July 5, 1985

Changes recommended in use of human diploid cell rabies vaccine

JAMA. 1985;254(1):13-14. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03360010015002

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In June 1980, a new rabies vaccine, using a virus cultivated on human cells, was licensed. Now, five years later, some changes have been recommended in how it is used.

At the time of its licensing at the beginning of the decade, the new vaccine was hailed as a major advance. This opinion was based principally on the heightened immunogenicity of the vaccine, which made it possible to reduce the number of doses for both pre-exposure prophylaxis and post-exposure treatment, compared with the then-available rabies vaccine. The latter employed virus cultivated on duck embryo tissues.

Since then, about 400,000 doses of the newer human diploid cell vaccine have been given to about 100,000 persons in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. But recently, a problem with the new vaccine has emerged. Hypersensitivity reactions have been reported in some individuals, mostly among those given routine