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Lancet Infect Dis. 2012 May;12(5):397-407. doi: 10.1016/S1473-3099(11)70340-1.

Passive immunity in the prevention of rabies.

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  • 1Hotung Molecular Immunology Unit, Division of Clinical Sciences, St George's University of London, London, UK.


Prevention of clinical disease in those exposed to viral infection is an important goal of human medicine. Using rabies virus infection as an example, we discuss the advances in passive immunoprophylaxis, most notably the shift from the recommended polyclonal human or equine immunoglobulins to monoclonal antibody therapies. The first rabies-specific monoclonal antibodies are undergoing clinical trials, so passive immunisation might finally become an accessible, affordable, and routinely used part of global health practices for rabies. Coupled with an adequate supply of modern tissue-culture vaccines, replacing the less efficient and unsafe nerve-tissue-derived rabies vaccines, the burden of this disease could be substantially reduced.

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