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SLU Researchers Test New Anthrax Drug

By Matt Sepic, KWMU

St. Louis – Researchers at Saint Louis University began human testing of a new anthrax vaccine Tuesday.

They hope the new drug will be easier to administer and have fewer side effects than the old vaccine, which has been in use for about 50 years. People who receive the current vaccine often get a fever, pain and swelling along with the injection.

Dr. Geoffrey Gorse is the study's principal investigator. He says the testing is safe, and includes about 25 St. Louis-area volunteers.

"There's no anthrax in any of these vaccines, but there are parts of the anthrax and other proteins produced by the anthrax bacillus in the old vaccine that potentially makes it produce more side effects," Gorse said.

Saint Louis University is one of four institutions around the country doing the tests. California-based biotech company VaxGen Inc. is sponsoring the vaccine development through a grant from the National Institutes of Health.

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