New Delhi university creates anthrax-fighting antibodies

Researchers at the School of Biotechnology at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, India, have developed therapeutic antibodies to fight against anthrax infection.

Rakesh Bhatnagar, the lead scientist for the project, previously developed an anthrax vaccine that is now undergoing phase II human trials. The anthrax antibodies have been successfully tested on mice, though it may take longer to create the same with a human model, TNN reports.

"India, US, France and UK are all in a race to develop the first anthrax vaccine," Bhatnagar said, according to TNN. "Who will have it first will only depend on when they manage to complete all three human trials. One of the important reasons for developing the vaccine is its bio-threat. In 2001 we saw how anthrax can be used by enemies to kill people. Inhaling the bacteria will lead to death in 99 percent of cases."

The antibody project took approximately three years to develop for a mouse model. When the anthrax vaccine has gone through all human trials, it can be given to humans annually as booster shots to keep them immunized. The team has created an anthrax vaccine for animals that has not yet been commercially launched.

"Anthrax outbreaks happen mostly in forest areas where they spread from animals that had contracted the infection," Bhatnagar said, according to TNN. "The antibodies will help in dealing with such cases, too. It may take us five more years to have the antibodies cleared by all the regulatory checks."