Research Fellows Directory
Dr Waranyoo Phoolcharoen
St George's, University of London
Rabies is a disease caused by bites from infected animals, mostly dog. More than 15 million people a year receive rabies treatment that includes rabies specific antibodies, which can stop the virus. Rabies antibodies currently used are produced using blood from humans or horses. Recently, rabies antibodies were produced from plants and also shown to stop the virus effectively. However, the patient gets delayed treatment and virus enters the brain, then the treatment becomes ineffective because the antibody cannot access the brain to inhibit viral infection. Once the infection spreads to the brain, the patient will begin to show symptoms leading to a coma and death. Our goal is to develop a novel rabies treatment using plants to save the patients’ life at the time of no hope. There is a specific part of rabies virus that allows it to enter the brain. Our strategy is to attach this part of rabies virus to rabies antibody and test whether this novel molecule can enter to stop virus in the brain. After the production in plants, this novel molecule was tested whether it can pass the in vitro blood-brain barrier (BBB). We showed that our plant-produced molecule is able to pass the in vitro BBB and inhibit rabies virus infection. This novel molecule produced from plants has potential to develop to be an effective treatment for rabies patients in coma.