May 26, 2024

Rabies Antiserum: An Essential Defense Against Viral Threats

Rabies Antiserum

Rabies is a deadly viral disease that affects the central nervous system in humans and other mammals. However, timely administration of Rabies Antiserum can save the life of a person exposed to rabid animal bites or scratches. Let us take a closer look at this vital biological product.

Introduction to Rabies and its Pathogenesis

Rabies is caused by the rabies virus, which belongs to the Rhabdoviridae family of viruses. It can be transmitted to humans through the saliva of infected animals, usually through bites or scratches. Once inside the body, the virus travels through the peripheral nervous system to the central nervous system. It multiplies at the site of infection and moves along nerve fibers reaching the brain.

In the brain and spinal cord, it causes encephalitis or inflammation of the brain which leads to severe neurological symptoms. The incubation period between exposure to the virus and onset of symptoms ranges from around 1 week to 3 months. Without preventive treatment, rabies is almost always fatal once clinical symptoms appear.

Mechanism of Action of Rabies Antiserum

Rabies Antiserum contains rabies virus-neutralizing antibodies derived from the hyperimmune serum of horses or humans. When administered promptly after exposure, it works by neutralizing the rabies virus at the site of exposure before it gets the chance to travel along nerve fibers to the central nervous system.

The antibodies present in the antiserum bind to the rabies virus and render it non-infectious. This gives the host’s immune system time and opportunity to produce their neutralizing antibodies and clear the virus. Along with washing and cleaning the wound area, Rabies Antiserum forms the crucial post-exposure prophylaxis after suspected rabies virus exposure.

Benefits of Timely Administration of Rabies Antiserum

If given sufficiently early, usually within 7 days of an exposure, Rabies Antiserum can prevent the development of clinical rabies with an almost 100% success rate when used along with other recommended vaccines. Several important benefits are as follows:

– It neutralizes the virus before it reaches the Central Nervous System, preventing encephalitis.

– Buys time for the body’s immune system to generate its own antibodies against the virus.

– Helps clear the virus completely from the body along with other post-exposure prophylaxis measures.

– Provides immediate protection till the body mounts its immune response post vaccination.

– Saves lives by eliminating the need for potentially life-saving but invasive procedures like nerve biopsies.

Post-Exposure Prophylaxis Recommendations

The World Health Organization recommends prompt local treatment of wounds along with administration of both Rabies Immunoglobulin (Rabies Antiserum) and a cell culture-derived rabies vaccine as part of post-exposure prophylaxis.

The antiserum is given along with the first rabies vaccine dose. Additional doses of the vaccine on days 3, 7, 14 complete the vaccination regimen. Proper wound cleaning and antiseptic application must also be ensured.

Timely follow up of the complete PEP protocol provides lasting protection and prevents many unnecessary deaths every year from one of the deadliest viruses known.

Adverse Effects and Precautions

Being derived from equine or human sources, Rabies Antiserum may cause minor adverse effects like pain, redness or swelling at the injection site in some individuals. Very rarely, allergic reactions or serum sickness may occur within 7-21 days of administration.

People with a known hypersensitivity to equine or human serum proteins should avoid its use. Pregnant or breastfeeding women require expert medical evaluation before use. Strict aseptic precautions must be ensured during its storage as well as administration to prevent bacterial contamination.

Conclusion

In summary, Rabies Antiserum forms a crucial component of PEP and can save lives if administered promptly within 7 days of exposure to suspected rabid animal bites or scratches. Along with wound management and vaccination, it helps prevent the deadly rabies virus from reaching the central nervous system. Its multiple benefits underscore the need for creating greater awareness regarding timely post-bite prophylaxis and preventing unnecessary deaths from this completely preventable zoonotic disease.

*Note:
1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it