Indian Doctor’s Rabies Treatment That Might Reduce Cost by 100 Times Approved By WHO
February 9th, 2018
In a major breakthrough in the medical field, a new treatment for rabies parasite has been recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) which could reduce the cost of treatment by almost 100 times.
Last week, WHO acknowledged the low-cost rabies treatment developed by Omesh Kumar Bharti, a field epidemiologist working at the working at Intra-Dermal Anti-Rabies Clinic and Research Centre of Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital, Himachal Pradesh.
Reduction of cost
“It’s a revolutionary treatment that drastically reduces the dose of medicine,” said Bharti, according to The News Minute.
He added, “so is the cost of treatment that would drastically cut to just Rs 350 ($5.50) from the existing Rs 35,000 ($545) per patient”.
How does the vaccine work?
Previously, the vaccine with rabies immunoglobulins for a monkey or dog bite would be administered intradermally, one each on the wound and the muscle. The rabies immunoglobulin was calculated according to patient’s body weight, which was a costly proposition.
Now, the dosage still needs to be calculated according to the patient’s body weight but now only one vaccine needs to be administered directly to the wound.
The omission of rabies immunoglobulins administration intramuscularly would drastically reduce the cost of treatment from Rs 35,000 to Rs 350 per patient and will have a huge impact globally by sparing the overall cost, medicine and thus saving lives, Bharti explained.
“We started practical research on administering rabies immunoglobulins in wound only in 2014 amidst an acute shortage of this lifesaving medicine, with technical support of WHO Collaborating Centre on Rabies Research in NIMHANS,” he said.
“We administered the anti-rabies vaccine intradermally as earlier along with local rabies immunoglobulins infiltration into wounds. We found that even the lab confirmed rabid dog bite victims survived without any adverse impact,” Bharti said.
Money spent on Rabies vaccine now
At present over $1.6 billion are annually spent on the rabies post-exposure prophylaxis across the globe, which is likely to come down to few million dollars as over 90 percent of this cost is attributed to rabies immunoglobulins to be given as per the earlier WHO protocol that came in 1992, as reported by The News Minute.
There are 59,000 reported deaths due to rabies in the world and India accounts for 20,000 of them. It is because of the cost and the unavailability of the medicine that deaths occur.