Rabies Vaccines 2023

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Last reviewed
May 16, 2023
Content Overview
Rabies vaccines are approved and in use worldwide in May 2023.

Rabies Vaccines May 2023

Rabies is a zoonotic infection that 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 annually. The WHO recommends preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is recommended for persons at high exposure risk. 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. 

On May 6, 2022, the U.S. CDC published: Use of a Modified Preexposure Prophylaxis Vaccination Schedule to Prevent Human Rabies: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices — United States, 2022. Globally, rabies causes an estimated cost of US$ 8.6 billion per year.

Rabies Vaccines Approved 2023

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

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.

Rabies Vaccine Candidates 2023

May 16, 2023 - YS Biopharma Co., Ltd. announced its novel PIKA Rabies Vaccine received Phase 3 clinical trial approval from the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan. This vaccine is powered by proprietary PIKA adjuvant technology to induce accelerated immunity and produce a higher immune response. 

Rabies Vaccine Breakthrough Infections

The Lancet Infectious Disease reported in December 2022 that sporadic breakthrough infections (i.e., rabies in people who have started PEP) had been reported. Researchers identified 52 articles, which included a total of 122 breakthrough infections. Timely and appropriate administration of PEP is crucial to prevent rabies. Although people with high-risk exposures or immunosuppression can develop rabies despite adherence to core practices, this occurrence remains exceedingly rare.

Importation of Dogs

All foreign-vaccinated dogs entering the U.S. from high-risk rabies countries must have either a CDC-issued Dog Import Permit or a CDC-approved animal care facility reservation. As of April 2023, a valid CDC Rabies Vaccination and Microchip Record are needed to obtain a permit or make a reservation. The CDC does not accept foreign-issued pet passports or other certificates for foreign rabies vaccinations.

Rabies Vaccine News 2023

March 29, 2023 - Clinical Infectious Diseases reported an 84-year-old male died from rabies six months after being bitten by a rabid bat despite receiving timely rabies PEP. Clinicians should consider measuring rabies-neutralizing antibody titers after completion of PEP if there is any suspicion of immunocompromise.

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.

May 19, 2022 - New research published 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 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.

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. 

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.