Medicine: Taking the Bite Out of Rabies

Nearly a century has passed since Louis Pasteur developed the first effective vaccine against rabies, but the dangerous viral disease still takes hundreds of lives round the world every year. The problem is especially serious in developing countries, where inoculations are not always quickly available and infected animals, who transmit the disease through bites, often run rampant. Yet even when bitten people are vaccinated in time, the treatment can be almost as bad as the disease. Typically, it involves a series of 14 or more shots (usually in the abdomen) that often cause painful allergic swelling and occasionally paralysis or death.


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