Russian Scientists Offer New Vaccine Against Anthrax

Russian scientists have developed a new vaccine against anthrax, Valentin Pokrovsky, President of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, told reporters Tuesday. Pokrovsky reminded his audience that practically all the countries now use the same anti-anthrax vaccine, injecting it in 6 sessions, and that it takes the body a long time to develop immunity to the disease. The two principal advantages of the Russian-developed vaccine consist in that it is to be injected in as few as 2 sessions and that the body begins to develop immunity a week after the vaccination, stressed the Academy President. According to Pokrovsky, 10 to 20 cases of anthrax are registered in Russia per year. Its dermatological form, curable with gamma-globulin and antibiotics, accounts for 95 percent of all cases. The main source of contamination is sick livestock, he said. According to him, no examples of human-to-human transmission are known to science as of yet. There exists a theoretical possibility of using anthrax as a biological weapon for terrorism in Russia, warned Pokrovsky. Anthrax spores can live a hundred years and even more; they rapidly grow and propagate, and are easy to store and transport. However, Russia has everything it takes to combat the disease, the head of Russia's Academy of Medical Sciences assured in conclusion.