Researchers develop single dose Ebola vaccine, call it ‘Trojan Horse’

To address any possible safety concerns associated with this vaccine, the team developed two next generation candidate vaccines

By DTE Staff
Published: Friday 10 April 2015

Ebola virus

The researchers of University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) at Galveston, along with clinical-stage biotechnology company Profectus BioSciences, have developed a single dose Ebola vaccine. The treatment has been dubbed as “Trojan Horse” by the researchers.

The vaccine has been undergoing testing in the Galveston National Laboratory, the only fully operational Biosafety Level 4 laboratory on an academic campus in the US.
The findings may pave way for the identification and manufacture of safer, single dose, high efficiency vaccines to combat current and future Ebola outbreaks,” said Thomas Geisbert, UTMB professor of microbiology and immunology. “We are excited at the possibility of helping develop a way to stop this deadly disease. We have a lot of more work to accomplish but it’s important to note that this is a big step.”

To develop the vaccine, the research team, according to a release by the UTMB, developed a vaccine effective against Ebola Zaire strain (that was responsible for 2014 outbreak) with a single dose in a nonhuman primate model. This new vaccine employs a virus not harmful to humans, called vesicular stomatitis virus that had a part of the Ebola virus inserted into it. According to UNTB, the “Trojan horse” vaccine safely triggered an immune response against Ebola Zaire.

To address any possible safety concerns associated with this vaccine, the team developed two next generation candidate vaccines that contain further weakened forms of the vaccine. Both of these vaccines produced an approximately ten-fold lower level of virus in the blood compared to the first generation vaccine.

Meanwhile, amid reports that Ebola cases have declined in Guinea—one of the three West African countries affected by Ebola—and are lowest since May 2014, there are fears that the virus may be spreading in the “little towns and hamlets” in the country. “The Ebola response is now concentrating on new hotspots,” says Dieng. “Our coordination support to this new phase will help enable our partners to respond immediately, wherever new cases occur,” says Abdou Dieng, ead of the UN Mission for the Emergency Ebola Response in Guinea. 

According to World Health Organization, nearly 26,000 have been affected by the virus in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia and about 10,500 have succumbed to the virus in the present outbreak.

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