Although no longer a threat to the majority of the world, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the plague is still classified as a Category A biothreat pathogen, with mortality rates ranging from 50-100 percent if untreated. Up until now, there has only been one treatment for the pneumonic and septicemic plague; a problem since the bacteria can develop resistance, and harnesses potential for weaponization through aerosol dispersion. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has recently approved the use of AVELOX®, moxifloxacin, for the prevention and treatment of the plague. This repurposed drug is commonly used to treat bronchitis and pneumonia, but has proven effective at preventing the plague during animal studies managed by Dr. Erin Reichert and Dr. Amanda Horstman-Smith at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases. This discovery is possible thanks to funding from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s Chemical and Biological Technologies Department.
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