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News From the Food and Drug Administration
September 7, 2021

Testing Monoclonal Antibodies for Rabies Prophylaxis

JAMA. 2021;326(9):801. doi:10.1001/jama.2021.13757

A new guidance from the FDA outlines a pathway for testing monoclonal antibodies as an adjunct to vaccination and prophylaxis after rabies exposure.

Prompt prophylaxis after exposure can prevent nearly all rabies deaths. Existing regimens include wound washing, vaccination, and anti–rabies virus immunoglobulin (anti-RIG), which is produced by pooling rabies antibodies from human or horse serum. Anti-RIG effectively helps to neutralize the virus until the vaccine-associated antibodies develop. That’s particularly important for severe bites from a rabid animal to the head or neck because the virus may reach the brain more rapidly than if bites were to other parts of the body.

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