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Scientists Develop New Anthrax Antibody

It may help treat late-stage infection, study finds

TUESDAY, Dec. 27, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- A new anthrax antibody that protects and defends against inhalation anthrax has been developed by scientists at the University of Texas at Austin.

In tests on animals, this antibody -- an anthrax antitoxin -- worked without the use of antibiotics and other more expensive antibodies and successfully eliminated both anthrax bacteria and its deadly toxins, the researchers said.

The findings appear in the December issue of the journal Infection and Immunity.

If future tests confirm the findings, this anthrax antibody could prove to be the first successful treatment for late-stage anthrax infection, and may even be effective against anthrax strains that have been designed to be antibiotic-resistant, the researchers said.

The new antibody is produced in bacterial cells instead of the more expensive mammalian cell cultures currently used to produce anthrax antibodies.

"What we have found is that you may not even need the antibiotics to beat anthrax," Brent Iverson, a professor of chemistry, said in a prepared statement.

This new antibody looks promising and could lead to a simpler and cheaper way to treat anthrax, Iverson added.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about anthrax treatments.

SOURCE: University of Texas at Austin, news release, December 2005
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