Investment Needed To Save A LARGE NUMBER OF Lives Through Post Bite Rabies Vaccines

However these fatalities can be avoided through a post-bite vaccination of the victims known as post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), alongside a programme of disease eradication through mass dog vaccination. Domestic dogs are responsible for 99% of human situations of rabies. And even though mass dog vaccination is necessary for eradication of rabies, fatalities from the condition could be reduced through improved and timely patient access to PEP significantly.

Once rabies symptoms start, the condition is undoubtedly fatal. Lifesaving rabies vaccines must be given immediately after a bite by a rabid dog, to be 100% effective in stopping death. Current PEP use will save approximately 56,000 deaths each year, however it has the potential to save lots of many more. Due to high costs and issues around supply, current option of PEP remains limited in many rabies-endemic countries.

Access to PEP is poor in many parts of the world, rural areas where most rabies instances happen particularly. Indeed, even if bite victims reach cure PEP and centre is available, the price is often unaffordable and for that reason treatment is not given. Now, new research led by the Universities of Glasgow and Cambridge published today in Lancet Infectious Diseases, has used both epidemiological and economic modelling to highlight the life-saving potential of investment in PEP by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. The research workers anticipate that more than 1 million fatalities shall take place in the 67 rabies-endemic countries analyzed from 2020-2035, under the existing position quo.

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With changes in how vaccines are procured and administered, access could be improved so that patients can access the vaccine cost-free, and so many more bite patients could be treated in these crisis situations. With such effective vaccines, there’s a huge chance to save lives by increasing access to rabies PEP.

Unfortunately, this type of tragic problem is all too common in countries where rabies is common. The vaccines are extremely expensive and some families may not be able to afford vaccine or may battle to raise funds leading to dangerous delays. This is why we continue to see preventable deaths entirely.

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