Transatlantic tests of a prophylactic vaccine against Rh sensitization has shown "virtually total protection" in more than 250 women.
Immediate postpartum injection of a γ-globulin preparation is being tried in England, Germany, and the US, Cyril A. Clarke, MD, reported recently.
Although experimental protocols vary, the object of all is to prevent isoimmunization in Rh-negative mothers after delivery of Rh-positive, ABO compatible infants. The vaccine contains a high concentration of passive Rh antibody.
Feto-maternal bleeding at delivery or before introduces the fetal cells which may foment the slow-developing anti-Rh antibody in the mother. Subsequent fetuses are thus affected by a reaction initiated by the first Rh-positive infant.
The investigators reason that immediate injection of the anti-D γ-globulin blocks antigen sites and thus prevents isoimmunization.
Eighteen women—six in each nation—have delivered normal infants with no evidence of hemolytic disease subsequent to the injections. "We can be very optimistic that the technique