Prevention and Treatment

Both normal and distorted prion proteins fail to stimulate any detectable host immune response, and no inflammatory reaction is associated with accumulations of abnormal prion protein in neurons. The agent presents special challenges to those attempting to develop effective drugs for treatment and vaccines for prevention.

A reliable antemortem test is an area of special need, and a number of promising methods are under evaluation. The long incubation period contributes to the difficulty of validating the various tests being developed. Ultimately the determination of the risk from medical products incorporating organs, cells, sera, and bovine by-products, and that from various food products, depends on sensitive and specific antemortem testing methods.

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