Welcome to the Rabies Challenge Fund.
The Rabies Challenge Fund Charitable Trust will determine the duration of immunity conveyed by rabies vaccines. The goal is to extend the required interval for rabies boosters to 5 and then to 7 years. This project depends primarily upon grassroots gifts for funding the costs of conducting the requisite vaccine trials. Our contributions to date have come mostly from kennel clubs and private individuals. The Rabies Challenge Fund Charitable Trust is a federally registered 501(c)(3) charitable organization [Fed. EIN # 84-6390682].
Essential Fundraising Efforts Continue ...
The research began in November 2007 under the direction of Dr. Ronald Schultz and The University of Wisconsin Foundation and is now in year seven. We have raised the required funds needed for the first six years of the study and we now seek donations to fund year seven. Continuing to raise the funds is essential so the project can continue.
With Your Help...
The Rabies Challenge Fund needs to raise a total of $1.25 million to complete the 5 and 7 year challenge studies. With your help for year seven, we are another year closer to making this goal a reality!
SUMMARY OF LATEST RABIES CHALLENGE TRIAL
February 21, 2016
The Rabies Challenge Fund’s latest trial conducted with the USDA’s new rabies challenge virus is 6 weeks post-challenge and, so far, has yielded results meeting our interim goals as well as partially satisfying the Title 9 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) requirements for rabies vaccine licensing.
Fifteen dogs were included in this trial. Only one of the 5 dogs vaccinated in 2007 showed protection against rabies, while 4 of 5 dogs vaccinated in 2009 (80%) demonstrated protection against a rabies virus challenge. Once all 5 of the unvaccinated control dogs showed the very early clinical signs of rabies virus infection, they were humanely euthanized.
Per CFR’s Title 9 recommendations, the surviving 5 vaccinates will remain under observation for another 6 weeks to detect late development of any clinical signs of rabies.
Whole blood mononuclear cells collected at post-challenge days 4 and 10 were tested by flow cytometry to determine kinetics of immune memory cell responses. Tissue samples from the euthanized dogs are currently undergoing rabies virus detection testing. Serum samples collected at various time points in the study are being evaluated by serum virus neutralization and ELISA testing methods.
One remaining challenge with 15 dogs is planned to fulfill the USDA Title 9 requirements for rabies vaccine licensing and to establish a canine rabies titer standard as confirmed by challenge data.
Breaking News / Alerts
OCTOBER 6, 2016 UPDATE - Read about an update to the Massachusetts rabies regulations.
FEBRUARY 21, 2016 UPDATE - Read a summary of the latest rabies challenge trial.
JANUARY 2016 UPDATE: The Rabies Challenge Fund thanks our many supporters who swiftly and generously responded to our announcement of a generous $15,000 matching gift donated to help raise additional funds to cover the fees for the second of our studies’ final challenge phases.
We now have a balance of $178,538.14 in the fund. This amount will meet the challenge facility fee as well as cover expenses related to the care of our remaining study dogs. Results of this second challenge should be ready late in the spring of 2016.
Once again, The Rabies Challenge Fund thanks you for making this important research to benefit all dogs possible.
NOVEMBER 2015 UPDATE - Learn how your donation will be matched 100% until December 25, 2015.
JUNE 2015 UPDATE - Read a summary of the first rabies challenge results.
MAY 2015 NORTH DAKOTA RESIDENTS ALERT - 2 rabies boosters are NOT required by law. Learn the statute and understand your rights.
APRIL 28, 2015 UPDATE
The first of the final challenge phase of our research has been completed.
Dr. Schultz is currently analyzing the serum samples & lab results on the antibody tests which he received from the challenge facility last week. Testing the tissue samples for virus detection, which is being performed by the scientists at the challenge facility, will take another 3 weeks.
Once all the challenge data has been analyzed by Dr. Schultz & Dr. Dodds, we will post a summary of the results on our Facebook page & website. Dr. Schultz & Dr. Dodds will then write a paper on the results to be submitted for scientific peer review & publication.
SEPTEMBER 2014 UPDATE
The Rabies Challenge Fund thanks our many supporters who swiftly and generously responded to our announcement of a $12,500 matching gift donated to help raise additional funds needed to cover the fees for the first of our study's challenge phases.
We now have a current balance of $129,780.27 in the fund. This amount will meet the $100,000 challenge facility fee, with nearly $30,000 in remaining funds, which will be applied towards expenses related to the study dogs’ care.
Results of this first challenge phase should be ready early in the spring of 2015.
Once again, The Rabies Challenge Fund thanks you for making this important research to benefit all dogs possible.
The Rabies Challenge Fund has just received the commitment from a USDA-approved facility to perform the first of the challenge phases of our 5 and 7-year studies. This rabies research was undertaken to determine, by challenge, the vaccine’s long-term duration of immunity in dogs and to establish the world’s first canine rabies titer standard.
Fees for this first challenge, slated to begin later this year, will involve 15 of the study dogs and will cost $100,000. If successful, two subsequent challenges of 15 dogs each will be conducted in order to meet the USDA rabies vaccine licensing requirements. These results, which will have been obtained using the same federal standard upon which all currently licensed rabies vaccines and rabies laws and regulations are based, should establish the scientific foundation upon which the legally required rabies booster intervals for dogs can be extended to 5 or 7 years. Further, for the first time, our accumulated rabies titer data should permit incorporating clauses pertaining to rabies titers into the existing laws.
Currently, The Rabies Challenge Fund needs to raise an additional $24,847 to cover the challenge facility fees. We ask that our donors maintain their generous levels of support through this critical challenge phase, so that the results to benefit all dogs can be available in early 2015. DONATE TODAY
July 14, 2013 STUDY SUMMARY - Read a summary of The Rabies Challenge Fund Duration of Immunity Study.
July 2, 2013 UPDATE ON CALIFORNIA AB 272 - the bill has been amended in the Senate and is acceptable to The Rabies Challenge Fund Co-trustees. Click here to read the new language.
PENNSYLVANIA MEDICAL EXEMPTION HAS BEEN SIGNED INTO LAW
SB 155 will become effective September 7, 2013, making PA the 18th state with a rabies medical exemption clause. Learn how your communication efforts paid off.
DELAWARE AMENDS RABIES VACCINATION STATUTE
SB 236 passed in June 2012 is intended to prevent vets from issuing 1- or 2- year rabies certificates when a 3-year vaccine is administered: "The veterinarian administering the vaccine shall complete the certificate specifying accurately the manufacturer’s specifications of the duration of immunity of the rabies vaccination used..." Read the bill.
AVMA REVISES RABIES VACCINATION POLICY
Largest U.S. vet organization now "recognizes some animals might require a waiver from rabies vaccination because the vaccination poses an unacceptably high risk to the health of the individual animal." Learn more.
MARCH 1, 2012 UPDATE - MINNESOTA BOARD OF VETERINARY MEDICINE ISSUES RABIES VACCINATION GUIDANCE DOCUMENT
This is a follow-up to the December 14, 2011 finding that the majority of Minnesota vets do not issue 3 year certificates when vaccinating with 3 year rabies vaccines.
Learn more and download guidance document and survey results.
CALIFORNIA RABIES MEDICAL EXEMPTION UPDATE
On October 7, 2011, California's Governor signed Rabies Medical Exemption Bill AB258 (Molly's Bill) into law. California is the 14th state to do so!
KILLEEN, TX AND BELL COUNTY, TX APPROVE 3-YEAR RABIES ORDINANCE
June 12: The city of Killeen, TX and Bell County, TX have changed their rabies vaccine requirement from every year to every 3 years to match State law. Read news story.
MINNESOTA DOG OWNERS
The Board of Animal Health is planning a statewide rabies rule. Learn what you can do to help..
WACO, TX APPROVES 3-YEAR RABIES ORDINANCE
The city of Waco, TX has changed its rabies vaccine requirement from every year to every 3 years to match State law. Link to ordinance
2010 SAFER PET VACCINATION SEMINAR DVD NOW AVAILABLE
A special offer for pet lovers, pet professionals and veterinarians. Learn more.
WEST VIRGINIA ADOPTS 3-YEAR RABIES VACCINE STATUTE
On June 13 became the 50th state in the country to adopt national standard! Learn more.
Did You Know?The RCF study will also generate data to establish the level of immunity (also called a titer) in a dog’s blood that provides protection against rabies virus. This is important because at present we have to rely upon information known about the protective rabies titer for people, which is then applied to dogs and other mammals. Once the RCF has established the protective rabies titer, it should provide a scientific basis to avoid unnecessary rabies booster vaccination.
Making a DifferenceSuccessful efforts by the Rabies Challenge Fund have led to changing the state rabies laws/municipal ordinances to the 3-year national standard in Cheyenne, Wyoming; Wichita, Kansas; Waco, Killeen and Bell County, Texas; and the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Maine Rhode Island and West Virginia.
About the RCF Study
This vaccine research project to address the duration of immunity conveyed by rabies vaccine is being performed by Dr. Ronald Schultz, Chairman of Pathobiology at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine. If the Rabies Challenge Fund succeeds in raising funds to complete both the 5 and 7 year challenge studies, the second phase of the project will finance a study of the adjuvants used in veterinary vaccines, and establish a federal adverse reaction reporting system for rabies and other vaccines.
An All Volunteer Effort
The University of Wisconsin has donated all of the necessary overhead costs for these studies which normally amount to 48% of the direct research costs. Furthermore, Dr. Ron Schultz, the Principal Investigator, has volunteered his time in conducting the research. Dr. W. Jean Dodds and her staff at Hemopet are also donating their efforts, as is Founder Kris Christine. The only monies used from the pre-grant funds were IRS fees. All other monies donated to The Rabies Challenge Fund Charitable Trust go directly to funding these studies.
Year 7 Donations
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The Rabies Challenge Fund is a grassroots, team effort. Every contribution, regardless of size, moves us closer to our goal. We thank all the individuals, businesses, and breed clubs, canine clubs and associations for their generous support.