Thursday, July 9, 2009
Studies suggest an experimental drug could be useful in the event of another anthrax attack.
The drug, called ABthrax, helped monkeys and rabbits survive the disease.
In 2001, five people in the U.S. died after inhaling anthrax germs they'd gotten through the mail.
Doctors now use antibiotics to prevent or treat anthrax, and there is also an anthrax vaccine. The experimental drug works a different way, by keeping deadly anthrax toxin from entering cells. Researchers say it could be combined with antibiotics.
The company that developed the experimental drug under federal contract has already delivered 20,000 doses to the government for emergency use. It's also asking the FDA to approve the drug under a rule that lets animal studies substitute for human studies when it's not feasible to test a drug in people.
Results of the federally funded animal research are presented in the New England Journal of Medicine.