Anthrax treatment shipped to US stockpile
The first shipment of Anthim (obiltoxaximab) injection, a novel treatment for the inhalation of Bacillus anthracis, which causes anthrax, has arrived in the US Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) according to a press release yesterday from Elusys Therapeutics, Inc. Elusys manufactures Anthim and has received more than $240 million from the US government to develop the drug over the past 15 years.
"Our first delivery of Anthim to the SNS marks a major commercial milestone for Elusys and it is a significant achievement for the U.S. Government," said Elizabeth Posillico, PhD, president and CEO of Elusys. "Anthim can now be provided by CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] to treat U.S. citizens, first responders and military personnel in an anthrax emergency."
Anthim is a monoclonal antibody that neutralizes toxins released by B anthracis. The Food and Drug Administration approved Anthim last year based on the results of animal studies. Anthim does not have direct antibacterial activity and should be used in combination with appropriate antibacterial drugs, the news release said.
Anthim can be used in both children and adults after B anthracis inhalation and can be used prophylactically if no other antibacterial agents are available, the company said.
Oct 10 Elusys press release
Seychelles reports imported plague in Madagascar traveler
The Seychelles Ministry of Health (MOH) yesterday reported an imported plague case in a 34-year-old man who had travelled to Madagascar and had been under passive surveillance since he arrived, according to a statement posted on the MOH Facebook page.
He had been under passive surveillance in Seychelles since Oct 6 and sought care for symptoms on Oct 9, which resulted in immediate isolation. Jude Gedeon, MD, the country's public health commissioner, said several tests yielded normal findings, but a rapid plague test was weakly positive. Testing at the Pasteur Institute in France confirmed the positive plague findings.
The man was given antibiotics, and all 42 of his direct contacts are under active surveillance, including his partner, who has symptoms, though an infection has not been confirmed. Close contacts also include a child who lives with the couple. Fifteen of the close contacts have been placed on antibiotic prophylaxis.
Air Seychelles has cancelled all flights to and from Madagascar, and members of a basketball team who were under surveillance at a center have been discharged after none of them came down with symptoms. The MOH said the imported case is separate from the basketball group.
Madagascar is battling a plague outbreak since August, so far totaling 387 cases, 45 of them fatal. Most of the illnesses are the pneumonic form if the disease. Though plague is endemic to parts of Madagascar, with outbreaks typically reported this time of year, the current outbreak is unusual due to its high case count, widespread geographic area, large percentage of pneumonic cases, and involvement of large urban areas.
Oct 10 Seychelles MOH Facebook post