Antibody-based therapies for emerging infectious diseases.
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Antibody-based therapies for emerging infectious diseases.

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  • Alternative Title:
    Emerg Infect Dis
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    In the 19th century, it was discovered that immune sera were useful in treating infectious diseases. Serum therapy was largely abandoned in the 1940s because of the toxicity associated with the administration of heterologous sera and the introduction of effective antimicrobial chemotherapy. Recent advances in the technology of monoclonal antibody production provide the means to generate human antibody reagents and reintroduce antibody therapies, while avoiding the toxicities associated with serum therapy. Because of the versatility of antibodies, antibody-based therapies could, in theory, be developed against any existing pathogen. The advantages of antibody-based therapies include versatility, low toxicity, pathogen specificity, enhancement of immune function, and favorable pharmacokinetics; the disadvantages include high cost, limited usefulness against mixed infections, and the need for early and precise microbiologic diagnosis. The potential of antibodies as antiinfective agents has not been fully tapped. Antibody-based therapies constitute a potentially useful option against newly emergent pathogens.
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