Published On: Wed, Dec 28th, 2016

New Effective Ebola Vaccine Developed

Ebola Vaccine

 

A new and effective Ebola Vaccine has been developed by scientists from from the World Health Organization and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

The study titled “Efficacy and effectiveness of an rVSV-vectored vaccine in preventing Ebola virus disease” was published in Lancet.

This is exceptional news considering the recent Ebola outbreaks in Africa which cause a panic around the world. The researchers wrote, “The results add weight to the interim assessment that rVSV-ZEBOV offers substantial protection against Ebola virus disease, with no cases among vaccinated individuals from day 10 after vaccination in both randomized and non-randomized clusters.”

The trial took place in the coastal region, the area of Guinea still experiencing new Ebola cases when the trial started in 2015. The trial used an innovative design, a so-called “ring vaccination” approach – the same method used to eradicate small pox.

When a new Ebola case was diagnosed, the research team traced all people who may have been in contact with that case within the previous 3 weeks, such as people who lived in the same household, were visited by the patient, or were in close contact with the patient, their clothes or linen, as well as certain “contacts of contacts”. A total of 117 clusters (or “rings”) were identified, each made up of an average of 80 people.

In addition to showing high efficacy among those vaccinated, the trial also shows that unvaccinated people in the rings were indirectly protected from Ebola virus through the ring vaccination approach (so called “herd immunity”). However, the authors note that the trial was not designed to measure this effect, so more research will be needed.

“Ebola left a devastating legacy in our country. We are proud that we have been able to contribute to developing a vaccine that will prevent other nations from enduring what we endured, ” said Dr KeÏta Sakoba, Coordinator of the Ebola Response and Director of the National Agency for Health Security in Guinea.

“This hallmark study led by WHO assessed the efficacy of an Ebola vaccine under extremely arduous field conditions during the Ebola epidemic in Guinea in 2015, ” said Myron M. Levine, MD, DTPH, the Simon and Bessie Grollman Distinguished Professor at UM SOM.

“We are proud to have contributed to this important work, which involved efforts from many investigators across the globe. The organization and performance of this innovative field trial on short notice in one of the world’s least developed countries with virtually no research infrastructure was an extraordinary tour de force.”

The Ebola virus is a hemorrhagic fever of humans and other primates caused by ebolaviruses. Signs and symptoms typically start between two days and three weeks after contracting the virus with a fever, sore throat, muscular pain, and headaches. Then, vomiting, diarrhea and rash usually follow, along with decreased function of the liver and kidneys. At this time some people begin to bleed both internally and externally.

It has a high death rate with death coming within two weeks of infection.

The virus spreads through direct contact with bodily fluids like blood.

“While these compelling results come too late for those who lost their lives during west Africa’s Ebola epidemic, they show that when the next Ebola outbreak hits, we will not be defenseless, ” said Dr Marie-Paule Kieny, WHO’s Assistant Director-General for Health Systems and Innovation, and the study’s lead author.

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