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updated: 12/14/2012 4:32 PM

FDA approves new drug for anthrax

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Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- Federal health officials say they approved a new injectable drug from Human Genome Sciences to treat inhalable anthrax.

The Food and Drug Administration says raxibacumab will provide an alternative to antibiotic drugs that are currently the standard treatment for anthrax infection.

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Inhalation anthrax occurs when people breathe in the spores of Bacillus anthracis bacteria. The infection is treated with a 60-day course of antibiotics.

Raxibacumab is a manmade protein that blocks toxins produced by anthrax. It mimics naturally occurring antibodies in the human body that find and destroy harmful substances.

The FDA approved the drug based on effectiveness studies in monkeys and rabbits that were infected with Anthrax. The drug's safety was tested in 326 healthy human volunteers.

The drug was developed by GlaxoSmithKline PLC's Human Genome Sciences.

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