Rabies Vaccines 2023

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Last reviewed
January 23, 2023
Content Overview
Rabies vaccines are approved and in use worldwide.

Rabies Vaccines 2023

Rabies is a vaccine-preventable viral disease in more than 150 countries and territories, say the World Health Organization (WHO). Rabies vaccination can prevent infections before and after exposure to the rabies virus. Unfortunately, almost 60,000 people worldwide die from rabies each year.

Unlike the conventional, inactivated rabies vaccine, live-attenuated viruses are genetically modified viruses that can replicate in a vaccinated person without causing adverse effects while eliciting robust and effective immune responses against the viral infection.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its recommendations for rabies preexposure prophylaxis for humans, replacing the three-dose vaccination schedule with a two-dose program, intending to protect for about least three years.

Rabies Vaccines Approved

Chirorab®, previously known as Rabipur, is an inactivated rabies virus of Flury LEP. Chiron Behring Vaccines is re-launching Rabipur, a purified chick embryo cell vaccine. It will continue manufacturing at its WHO pre-qualified facility in Ankleshwar, Gujarat, India.

Imovax Rabies is an inactivated vaccine made from an attenuated rabies virus. It is a sterile, stable, freeze-dried suspension of Rabies Vaccine Inactivated virus prepared from WISTAR Rabies PM/WI 38 1503-3M strain.

RabAvert is a vaccine that contains an inactivated rabies antigen. Bavarian Nordic's RabAvert vaccine is indicated for preexposure vaccination, primary and booster doses, and postexposure prophylaxis against rabies in all age groups.

Rabivax-S is a lyophilized vaccine manufactured by Serum Institute of India Pvt. Ltd., containing inactivated purified rabies antigen. Rabivax-S has been developed on Vero ATCC CCL81 cells using the Pitman Moore strain. It is an inactivated vaccine that is freeze-dried until ready for immunization.

Importation of Dogs

After October 2021, dogs from high-risk countries entering the U.S. with CDC Dog Import Permits must enter only at approved ports of entry. As of November 2021, High-Risk Countries for Dog-Rabies is posted at this CDC link. In the Americas, rabies is commonly caused by a bat bite.

Rabies Vaccine News 2023

January 23, 2023 - Bharat Biotech initiated a voluntary, limited recall for a batch of its anti-rabies vaccine Chirorab®.

January 12, 2023 - Jefferson County Public Health (Colorado) encourages residents to take precautions to prevent exposure and minimize harm from rabies.

January 10, 2023 - The Texas Department of State Health Services Zoonosis Control Branch launched the 2023 Oral Rabies Vaccination Program's aerial distribution of oral rabies vaccine baits for wildlife.

December 14, 2022 - Everest Medicines announced it had achieved the preclinical proof-of-concept milestone for its mRNA rabies vaccine program, intended for rabies post-exposure prophylactic.

July 5, 2022 - Though the last U.S. Army soldier's death from rabies was in 2011 from a dog bite in Afghanistan, the U.S. Army remains vigilant about preventing this still-existing fatal disease, reporting an average of 1.5 post-exposure vaccinations daily.

May 19, 2022 - New research published today in Nature Communications shows that eliminating human dog-mediated rabies by combining mass dog vaccination, human education, and intensified rabies surveillance is feasible and cost-effective – at the state level.

May 5, 2022 - The U.S. CDC issued a Watch - Level 1, Practice Usual Precautions, regarding the rabies outbreak in Haiti.

April 9, 2022 - NPR reported D.C. Health, the District of Columbia's health agency, confirmed that the fox tested positive for the rabies virus.

March 21, 2022 - The WHO, One Health initiative, stated: The complex links between human, animal, and environmental health require coordinated multidisciplinary and multipronged collaboration to address the threats from zoonotic diseases, and the global public health community needs to act decisively now.

March 10, 2022 - Garrett County Health Department, located near Oakland, CA, reported the first case of laboratory-confirmed rabies for 2022, involving a gray fox attacking a person.

February 17, 2022 - The Washtenaw County Health Department announced in a Tweet, urging residents to call them at 734-544-6700 if they have had contact with a bat or a bat inside their home.

January 25, 2022 - Local T.V. reported Michele Fallon of Danville, PA, says she's concerned for her health after coming into close contact with one of the monkeys on the side of the interstate. 

January 17, 2022 - Rabies was confirmed in a four-year-old child from South Africa from Eastern Cape Province. In addition, a case was confirmed as a patient who contracted the disease in Lusaka, Zambia but was hospitalized and died in Johannesburg. In 2021, a total of 19 confirmed human rabies were reported from Eastern Cape (n=9), KwaZulu-Natal (n= 6), and Limpopo (n=4) provinces.

January 7, 2022 - The U.S. CDC published Notes from the Field: Three Human Rabies Deaths Attributed to Bat Exposures — United States, August 2021.

October 29, 2021 - South Africa's KwaZulu-Natal Department of Agriculture and Rural Development confirmed that six people have died. Three rabies infections were lab-confirmed, and three were diagnosed based on symptoms.

September 30, 2021 - The U.S. CDC issued Watch - Level 1, Practice Usual Precautions for an ongoing rabies outbreak in Haiti. The annual dog vaccination campaigns have been interrupted in Haiti, and health officials have reported increased rabies in dogs. 

September 28, 2021 - The Illinois Department of Public Health reported the first human case of rabies and related fatality in Illinois since 1954. A Lake County resident in his 80s awoke to a bat on his neck. The bat was captured and tested positive for rabies. The individual was advised he needed to start postexposure rabies treatment but declined. One month later, the individual began experiencing symptoms consistent with rabies, including neck pain, headache, difficulty controlling his arms, finger numbness, and difficulty speaking.

September 28, 2021 - World Rabies Day (WRD), established by the Global Alliance for Rabies Control and recognized by the World Health Organization, is celebrated every September 28 to remind us that preventing animal rabies does protect not only animal health but also the health of humans and the environment. In this regard, the theme chosen for the WRD this year is "Rabies: facts, not fear," highlighting the importance of raising awareness of the disease, vaccinating the animal population, and educating people on the danger of rabies and how to prevent it.

September 10, 2021 - A cat tested positive for rabies in the Town of Marcy, NY. The cat was sent to the New York State Department of Health Wadsworth Center for testing on September 7, 2021, and positive results were reported the following day. Two people were exposed to the cat and received post-exposure prophylaxis. Two dogs were also exposed to the cat.

February 26, 2021 - The U.S. CDC's ACIP Committee voted during a digital meeting to reduce the recommendation for rabies PrEP to a two-dose vaccine schedule, aligning with international guidance. The WHO also recommends a two-dose vaccination schedule.

February 13, 2021 - Researchers found an existing rabies treatment known as KEDRAB safe and effective for patients aged 17 and under. This study demonstrates that HRIG150 is well tolerated and effective in pediatric patients as a PEP component. This study is the first to establish the pediatric safety and efficacy of HRIG in the U.S. to the authors' knowledge.

February 6, 2021 - The Lancet published an editorial: Time to revise the Gavi funding strategy of rabies vaccine? However, 'In the long term, eliminating almost all human rabies could only be achieved by comprehensive vaccination of stray dogs.'

January 27, 2021 - The South Padre Island Animal Control Division city assisted the Texas Department of State Health Services Zoonosis Control Division with the Oral Rabies Vaccination Program. The city said the program aims to reduce the dog strain of rabies carried by coyotes in Texas. Vaccination for rabies will be distributed around the town in non-populated areas that attract coyotes.