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New drug Anthrasil approved for people exposed to inhaled anthrax

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WASHINGTON — Federal health officials say they have approved an infusible drug to treat patients who have been exposed to anthrax.

The Food and Drug Administration approved Anthrasil for use in combination with older antibiotics to treat inhalation anthrax, which can cause serious injury and death. The condition occurs when the bacterial spores that carry anthrax are inhaled.

Anthrasil is made from the blood plasma of people who have been vaccinated against anthrax. They carry antibodies against the toxic bacteria.

The drug's development was funded by the U.S. government's Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, which stockpiles vaccines, drugs and equipment for use during pandemics and other health emergencies.

The FDA approved the drug based efficacy data from animal studies and human safety studies. It is manufactured by Cangene Corporation of Canada.

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