FDA approves anthrax drug

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Jan. 14, 2013

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The federal government has approved the first anthrax antitoxin developed under a federal project designed to protect the U.S. from bioterrorism incidents.

Raxibacumab, manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline/Human Genome Sciences, has been approved for use with antibiotics to treat inhalational anthrax, the Food and Drug Administration announced Dec. 14, 2012. Antibiotics can be used to treat people infected by anthrax, but they do not treat the toxins produced by anthrax pathogens, the FDA said. Raxibacumab would prevent the harmful effects of anthrax toxins and increase the likelihood that adults and children would recover after an infection.

The drug is the first anthrax antitoxin to gain approval under Project Bioshield, a program created during the George W. Bush administration. In 2001, five people died and six fell ill after inhaling anthrax bacteria sent through the mail.

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