An infusible drug designed to treat patients who have been exposed to anthrax has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), health officials announced Wednesday. The drug, Anthrasil, is made of antibodies from individuals who have been vaccinated against anthrax.

Anthrax is a serious infectious disease that, while rare, can spread through infected animals or contaminated animal products. However, in the case of a bioterrorism attack, Bacillus anthracis, the bacteria that causes anthrax, can be used in powders, sprays, food and water to spread the microscopic spores. The spores cannot be detected by sight, smell or taste. Bacillus anthracis is considered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to be a Tier 1 biological agent because of its potential for mass casualties.

One has to remember that once an inhalation anthrax exposure has occurred, the mortality rate is at 80 percent or higher, according to the FDA. Up to this point, we have only had very limited use of antibiotics in treating the disease once the patient has been exposed and is exhibiting symptoms. That is why when there’s a suspicion of an anthrax attack, patients are quarantined and quarters are immediately sealed.

In this chaotic world we live in today, with so many attacks around the world, this is a welcome finding by this Canadian company, Cangene. I hope that the FDA continues in their efforts to develop new types of medication to eliminate the potential effects of a bioterrorism attack.