"The botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) are the most potent and lethal toxins known to man. The toxins are both relatively easy to produce, as well as to deliver through intentional contamination of food or beverages. Current treatment consists of intravenous infusion of an equine antibody-based antitoxin available through the Department of Homeland Security National Strategic Pharmaceutical Stockpile. The use of equine-based antibodies has been associated with symptoms of hypersensitivity, including uticaria and serum sickness, and anaphylaxis. Recognizing the need for improved post-exposure therapeutics for the BoNTs for use in civilian populations, NIAID [National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases] convened an Expert Panel Workshop in Bethesda on February 9 and 10, 2004. The purpose of the meeting was to: discuss the most appropriate targets for clinical intervention; provide an overview of the current status of discovery of new therapeutics; evaluate the technical opportunities, as well as the constraints, to the development of the next generation of therapeutics; identify the knowledge gaps that constrain development of new therapeutics against specific targets; and identify research resources that are needed to advance discovery efforts. This report is a summary of the discussions addressing these objectives."
NIAID Biodefense Research: http://www2.niaid.nih.gov/biodefense/Research/strat_plan.htm