Equine Rabies Immune Globulin: A Product with an Undeserved Poor Reputation

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  • Queen Saovabha Memorial Institute of the Thai Red Cross Society, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand

Four hundred nineteen patients exposed to rabies in Thailand were treated with equine rabies immune globulin (ERIG) manufactured by Scalvo of Italy, a product also licensed in the United States of America. They were followed for a minimum of 1 month after ERIG injection and rabies vaccine administration. Adverse serum sickness-like reactions were noted in 15 patients (3.58%). These were clinically acceptable and only 1 of these patients required corticosteroid therapy and short term hospitalization for serum sickness. ERIG is ∼1/10 of the cost of human rabies immune globulin (HRIG), which is not generally available in developing countries. ERIG is a safe and underutilized essential biological when HRIG is not affordable or available.