16-Apr-15 12:00 PM  CST

FDA Approves New Treatment for Anthrax

Late last month the FDA announced approval of a new drug to treat the Anthrax virus. Anthrax, which is rare, but often serious, is caused by a spore forming bacterium known as Bacillus Anthracis Anthrax, which is primarily found in livestock and wild game, but can also be found in humans. Anthrax is not known to be spread from person to person such as a cold or flu. However, Anthrax is contagious and is most likely spread from open lesions or wounds often found on those infected with the virus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the virus can also be spread by eating meat that has been contaminated with the virus or by inhaling Bacillus Anthracis spores.

Up until the latest approval from the FDA Anthrax was treated with a 2-month course of antibiotics such as a flouroquinolone like ciprofloxacin or a tetracycline like doxycycline. Anthrasil or Anthrax Immune Globulin Intravenous (Human) is manufactured from the plasma of individuals vaccinated against the Anthrax virus. Plasma from individuals that have been vaccinated against the Anthrax virus contains an antibody that neutralizes the neurotoxins found within the Anthrax virus.

Although Anthrax may be spread through open wounds or sores or by eating meat contaminated by the disease, Anthrax that has been spread via inhalation is the most deadly form of the disease. Anthrasil is specifically targeted towards the inhaled Anthrax virus. Tested in 74 volunteers, Anthrasil’s most common side effects include, nausea, vomiting, back pain and injection site inflammation.

Canadian based Cangene Corporation manufactures Anthrasil. The project was purchased by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Department of Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) in 2011 as part of Project Bioshield. The drug was to be used as part of the U.S. Strategic Stockpile to fight against the potential threat of Anthrax used for biological warfare.

 

 

Resources:

 

Drugs.com, (2015), “FDA Approval Anthrasil, http://www.drugs.com/newdrugs/fda-approves-anthrasil-anthrax-immune-globulin-intravenous-human-inhalation-anthrax-4192.html, retrieved, 4. April 2015

 

WebMD, (2015), “New Anthrax Drug Approved by FDA”, http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/news/20150326/anthrax-drug-approved, retrieved, 4. April 2015


For additional information on this article, please contact:
 
Kelley Simmons
 
Source: Sandy Andrews, CPhT, BLS  

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