News of the WeekANTHRAX

'Borrowed Immunity' May Save Future Victims

Science  01 Feb 2002:
Vol. 295, Issue 5556, pp. 777
DOI: 10.1126/science.295.5556.777a

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Of the 11 bioterrorism victims who came down with inhalation anthrax last fall, five died despite the powerful antibiotics they were given. Now investigators at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other federal agencies are seeking permission to treat future severe cases with an experimental therapy designed to confer instant immunity against the bacterium's deadly toxin: blood plasma from military personnel vaccinated against anthrax.