Rabies

Lyssavirus

Rabies is a viral infection caused by a Lyssavirus (genus: Lyssavirus; family: Rhabdoviridae) which is an RNA virus. It spreads mainly among animals. Humans can get rabies when they are scratched or bitten by infected animals.

Once clinical symptoms appear, rabies is virtually 100 percent fatal [1]

As people and animals come into ever closer contact, the possibility of being bitten and becoming infected is a real risk. The most rabies deaths among people around the world are caused by bites from unvaccinated dogs. After any suspected exposure affected persons should immediately seek medical care. If they do not receive appropriate medical care, human rabies is almost always fatal [1].

After an incubation period of weeks or months, a rabies infection presents at first with symptoms such as headache, loss of appetite, general weakness, and fever. The disease progresses, and the patient will most likely experience additional symptoms related to a malfunctioning of the central nervous system (CNS) like abnormal behavior, hallucination, delirium, and insomnia. It ultimately leads to death.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “once clinical symptoms appear, rabies is virtually 100 % fatal.” [1]

Rabies can be prevented by vaccination – easily and safely

Rabies can be prevented by vaccination. Anti-rabies vaccination is recommended for people at particular risk, e.g., persons with close contact to bats or traveling in rabies endemic areas. The spreading of rabies can be easily prevented by vaccinating pets.

Due to the improvement in vaccine technology in recent years, new vaccination forms like RNA-based vaccines, which may be easier and faster to produce, have moved to the fore in vaccination research.

CRS has been involved in clinical development of a new RNA-based rabies vaccine

CRS has already performed a clinical trial with a new RNA-based rabies vaccine to investigate its safety and tolerability as a new drug in healthy volunteers and also in combination with a previously-marketed compound.

Sources

[1] World Health Organization – WHO:  Rabies – Key facts. www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/rabies (last accessed on 22 June 2020).

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