Anthrax research and treatments

Date: Tue Oct 02 2001 - 00:56:28 MDT

Spudboy forwards:
> September 30, 2001
> Bayer offers post Antrhax attack treatment
> Bayer Corporation's CiproŽ (ciprofloxacin) is the only antibiotic (tablet,
> oral suspension and IV) indicated for inhalational anthrax (post exposure) to
> reduce the incidence or progression of disease following exposure. According
> to Cipro's prescribing information, the recommended adult dosing for
> treatment of anthrax exposure is 500mg of oral Cipro Tablet or Suspension
> every 12 hours for 60 days. Treatment should begin as soon as possible after
> exposure and before symptoms appear. (WirePix/Bayer Corporation)

I saw this article on Anthrax research today:

   WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Amid heightened concern over a biological
   weapon attack involving anthrax, scientists said on Monday they had
   made important headway in understanding the molecular events triggered
   by the bacterium's lethal toxin and developing an antidote for it.

   Writing in the journal Current Biology, researchers at Harvard Medical
   School identified a gene found in mice that in some forms made mice
   resistant to anthrax. These gene variations -- which the researchers
   speculate also exist in people -- seemed to work by augmenting the
   response of the body's immune cells to the toxin released by the

Unfortunately the research sounds like it is in a relatively early
stage and it will likely be years before it can be translated into an
effective therapy. The article sounds some very sobering notes:

   Anthrax -- a deadly bacterial disease spread by spores and generally
   confined to sheep, cattle, horses, goats and pigs -- is seen as
   a likely agent in any biological warfare attack because it can be
   deployed relatively easily and kills about 90 percent of the people
   it infects.

   Anthrax is virtually untreatable once symptoms develop. Initial
   flu-like symptoms develop two to three days after the bacteria is
   inhaled. This is followed by high fever, vomiting, joint ache, labored
   breathing, internal and external bleeding, lesions and usually death.

The problem seems to be that while there are treatments, they will not
be effective once you find yourself sick. With a 90 percent fatality
rate and an extremely painful death this would be a horrifying agent to
use against the general population.


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