In DepthInfectious Diseases

Life-saving diphtheria drug is running out

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Science  13 Jan 2017:
Vol. 355, Issue 6321, pp. 118-119
DOI: 10.1126/science.355.6321.118

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Two children have died in Europe in the past 2 years because they suffered from diphtheria and did not get an antiserum that neutralizes the deadly toxin produced by Corynebacterium diphtheriae in time. The antitoxin, produced in horses, is in short supply worldwide; the market is too small to make production profitable. The European Center for Disease Control and Prevention is planning to highlight the shortage in a report expected early in 2017 that will also address Europe's diagnostic capacity for diphtheria. Meanwhile, researchers are trying to make the antitoxin in cell culture, which could help shore up production and improve quality.