WHO includes Shimla doctor’s low-cost protocol to treat rabid dog bite patients

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The new protocol drastically brings down the cost of treatment from the existing Rs 35,000 to Rs 350 per patient.

The Hush Post: The World Health Organisation (WHO) has, in its revised guidelines, included a new, cheaper protocol to treat rabid dog bite patients, established by Himachal Pradesh government doctor Omesh Kumar Bharti. Dr. Bharti works at Intra Dermal Anti-Rabies Clinic and Research Centre of Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital in Shimla.

The Technical Report Series (1012) released on Friday, incorporated two papers based on practical research by field epidemiologist Dr. Bharti on the dose and use of rabies immunoglobulins in such patients. The 195-page report on rabies prophylaxis recommends that apart from anti-rabies vaccination, insertion of rabies immunoglobulins in dog-bite wounds only is effective. The new protocol drastically brings down the cost of treatment from the existing Rs 35,000 to Rs 350 per patient.

As per earlier WHO guidelines, a dog or monkey bite victim was administered a vaccine intradermally, along with rabies immunoglobulins that was injected both in the wound and muscle.

“While intra-dermal vaccine’s doses have been reduced to three from four in the latest guidelines (based on research in Cambodia and Tanzania), the WHO has recommended injection of rabies immunoglobulins now only in dog-bite wounds,” news agency IANS quoted Dr. Bharti.

Bharti’s undertook the research initiative in 2014 when he saw a few deaths due to scant availability of rabies immunoglobulins in the market in the hill state.  While poor patients were earlier unable to afford the rabies immunoglobulin, non-availability of the medicine in the market has left even rich patients helpless and prone to risk of dreaded death due to rabies.

The study was done in association with WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference & Research on Rabies, Department of Neurovirology at Nimhans (National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences) Bengaluru, India.

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