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U.S. Company Tests Antidote for Anthrax

A San Diego-based company said on Wednesday it had engineered a human antibody that neutralizes anthrax toxin in rats and could protect people exposed to the sometimes deadly bacteria. “The potency this antibody exhibits is extremely high,” Dr. Phillip Morrow, a researcher at Avanir Pharmaceuticals, said in a statement. “We are very encouraged by this data, and plan to develop this antibody for use as a prophylactic and therapeutic drug to prevent and treat anthrax infections.” Avanir said its antibody, called VP-8C1, acted against the molecule that anthrax toxins use to get into cells. The company presented its findings at a vaccine meeting in Maryland and said it planned to test the antibody on guinea pigs next. Other groups are trying to design antitoxins that could be used as an antidote. Anthrax is caused by the Bacillus anthracis bacteria and can be treated by antibiotics if a patient is diagnosed immediately. Full Story

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