After successful monkey trials, new Ebola vaccine being tested on humans

Two vaccines have been used in the treatment—one as doze against the virus and second to boost the immunity

By Vani Manocha
Published: Tuesday 09 September 2014

A health worker checks a blood sample for Ebola at Kenema government hospital, Sierra Leone. Photo: IRIN/Tommy Trenchard

An experimental vaccine against Ebola has been found to be effective on monkeys for at least 10 months.
According to a study, published in journal Nature Medicine, all four monkeys survived what was supposedly a fatal dose of Ebolavirus. However, only half survived an infection 10 months after immunisation. The vaccine has been produced by researchers at the US’ National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

The vaccine uses a chimp adenovirus, closely related to a human version that causes upper respiratory tract infections, into which scientists spliced an Ebola gene. The drug is reportedly similar to the one currently being developed by pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, but offers much longer protection.

The research, led by Nancy Sullivan, used two different vaccines. The first dose can protect against the mononegavirus immediately while a second “booster shot” provides more long-term protection. After the experimental trials on monkeys, the human trials of the vaccine are now under way.

Ebola, the deadly virus that struck West Africa in a fresh outbreak, in February this year, has claimed nearly 2,000 lives in four countries. About 3,700 cases of the disease have been detected till now.

The soaring numbers had recently forced the World Health Organization to announce speedy clinical trials of experimental drugs. One of these vaccines is the one being developed by British drug maker GlaxoSmithKline in partnership with the US scientists.

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