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Emory University will conduct clinical trial of anthrax vaccine regimen

Emory University is one of five sites nationwide selected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to conduct a clinical trial of an anthrax vaccination regimen. The study, which is now enrolling volunteers, will use the anthrax vaccine licensed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1970. The new trial is designed to test whether changing the injection method from subcutaneous (under the skin) to the muscle or decreasing the number of doses affects the quality of the immune response or local reactions to the vaccine.

Harry Keyserling, M.D., professor of pediatric infectious diseases at Emory University School of Medicine, is principal investigator for the Emory study. Other sites include Baylor College of Medicine; the Mayo Clinic; the University of Alabama at Birmingham; and Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Anthrax is a disease caused by the Bacillus anthracis germ, and most often is found in cattle and sheep. Infection with anthrax bacteria may cause skin sores and intestinal or lung illness. Intestinal or lung illness is often serious and may be fatal. Individuals become infected with anthrax when they eat or touch animal parts that contain the bacteria or when they eat, touch or breathe bacteria in the air or on the ground.

The last human clinical trials of the anthrax vaccine were conducted in the 1950s in goat mill workers and in the laboratory scientists who studied anthrax. In 1991, with the threat of Iraqi bioweapons during the Persian Gulf War, the US military began vaccinating soldiers headed to the Persian Gulf. A shortage of vaccine and an exhaustive vaccination schedule that stretched over several years required many soldiers to complete their anthrax immunizations on the battlefield. In 1998, after assessing the threat of biological weapons, the Department of Defense required all U.S. armed forces to receive the anthrax vaccine. More than two million people, mostly in the military, hav
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Contact: Holly Korschun
hkorsch@emory.edu
404-727-3990
Emory University Health Sciences Center
14-May-2002


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