Scientists said Wednesday that a rare group of people in the Peruvian Amazon appears to have some natural resistance to rabies, which is widely considered fatal if not immediately treated.
The research reported in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene is based on blood samples from six people who said they had never been vaccinated against rabies.
But the group showed “rabies virus-neutralizing antibodies,” indicating for the first time that some people may develop an immune response that scientists could study in order to find new paths to treatment.
“The overwhelming majority of rabies exposures that proceed to infections are fatal,” said lead author Amy Gilbert with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases.
“However, our results open the door to the idea that there may be some type of natural resistance or enhanced immune response in certain communities regularly exposed to the disease,” she said.
Read more about these incredible people here.