ABSTRACT: A clinical evaluation of a new, purified, heat-treated equine rabies immunoglobulin (PHT-Erig), F(ab')2 preparation, was carried out in Thailand and in the Philippines-two countries where rabies is endemic. An initial prospective, randomised, controlled trial (Study 1), compared the safety and pharmacokinetics (serum concentrations of rabies antibodies) after administration either of PHT-Erig or of a commercially-available, equine rabies immune globulin (Erig PMC). A second trial (Study 2) simulated post-exposure rabies prophylaxis by using a reference cell culture vaccine, the purified Vero-cell rabies vaccine (PVRV), administered in association with either Erig PMC or PHT-Erig. In Study 1, 27 healthy, Thai adults received a 40 IU kg(-1) dose of either Erig PMC (n = 12) or PHT-Erig (n = 15) via the intramuscular (i.m.) route; half of the dose was injected into the deltoid area and the other half into the buttocks. Serum for rabies antibody determination and F(ab')2 concentration was collected at hours (H) 0, 6 and 12, and on day (D) 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 and 15. Both products were safe, with no serious adverse events, and in particular, no anaphylactic reactions or serum sickness was reported. A statistical comparison of the pharmacokinetic parameters did not demonstrate bioequivalence of the two products. Nonetheless, the relative bioavailability of 93% and the similar absorption rates suggest the pharmacokinetic profiles of Erig and PHT-Erig are similar. The antibody level in either group were low throughout the 15-day study period. The geometric mean titer (GMT) values ranged from group 0.027-0.117 IU ml(-1) in the Erig group and from 0.029 to 0.072 IU ml(-1) in the PHT-Erig. There was no significant difference between the evolution of GMT values for the two groups. In Study 2, 71 healthy volunteers received 40 IU kg(-1) via the intramuscular route of either Erig PMC (n = 36) or PHT-Erig (n = 35) on D0, in association with five doses of PVRV on D0, D3, D7, D14 and D28. The safety evaluation was performed during the 28-day follow-up and serum samples for anti-rabies antibody titration were collected on D0 (before injection) D3, D7, D14 and D28. No serious reactions were reported in either group. In particular, no immediate (anaphylactic type) or delayed (serum sickness) allergic reactions were observed. Over the 28-day follow-up period, GMT profiles of the two groups were statistically equivalent. On D14, 100% of the subjects had protective antibody titers (anti-rabies antibodies > or = 0.5 IU ml(-1), which is the WHO-recommended level of seroconversion), and Erig PMC and PHT-Erig were indistinguishable according to the clinical definition chosen. On D28, the GMT values were 33.2 IU ml(-1) (95% CI, 23.8-46.1 IU ml(-1)) in the Erig PMC/PVRV group and 31.4 IU ml(-1) (95% confidence interval, CI, 23.4-42.2 IU ml(-1)) in the PHT-Erig/PVRV group, showing evidence of adequate vaccine-induced antibody responses in both groups. The increased purity, the heat-treatment step introduced in the manufacturing process of PHT-Erig, and the good clinical results substantiate the use of this new generation, purified equine F(ab')2 preparation in the post-exposure prophylaxis of rabies.
Acta Tropica 08/1998; 70(3):317-33. · 2.72 Impact Factor