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Clin Exp Immunol. 2012 Sep;169(3):199-204. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2249.2012.04592.x.

Developments in rabies vaccines.

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  • 1Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency, Woodham Lane, Surrey University of Liverpool, National Centre for Zoonosis Research, Leahurst, Chester High Road, Neston, Wirral, UK.


The development of vaccines that prevent rabies has a long and distinguished history, with the earliest preceding modern understanding of viruses and the mechanisms of immune protection against disease. The correct application of inactivated tissue culture-derived vaccines is highly effective at preventing the development of rabies, and very few failures are recorded. Furthermore, oral and parenteral vaccination is possible for wildlife, companion animals and livestock, again using inactivated tissue culture-derived virus. However, rabies remains endemic in many regions of the world and causes thousands of human deaths annually. There also remain no means of prophylaxis for rabies once the virus enters the central nervous system (CNS). One reason for this is the poor immune response within the CNS to infection with rabies virus (RABV). New approaches to vaccination using modified rabies viruses that express components of the innate immune system are being applied to this problem. Preliminary reports suggest that direct inoculation of such viruses could trigger an effective anti-viral response and prevent a fatal outcome from RABV infection.

© 2012 Crown copyright. Clinical and Experimental Immunology © 2012 British Society for Immunology.

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