An experimental Ebola vaccine manufactured by Merck & Co was found to be highly protective against the deadly virus in a final-stage trial, becoming the first to prevent infection and providing one tool against future outbreaks.
The vaccine was studied in a trial involving more than 11,000 people in Guinea. Of those who who received the shot, no Ebola cases were recorded after a ten-day incubation period, according to a study published in the medical journal, the Lancet.
Ebola vaccine is highly effective, final test results confirm
Final test results confirm an experimental Ebola vaccine is highly effective, a major milestone that could help prevent the spread of outbreaks like the one that killed thousands in West Africa. Scientists have struggled to develop an Ebola vaccine over the years, and this is the first one proven to work. Efforts were ramped up after the infectious disease caused a major outbreak beginning in 2013 in Guinea and spreading to Liberia and Sierra Leone. About 11,300 people died.
New Ebola Vaccine Gives 100 Percent Protection
In a scientific triumph that will change the way the world fights a terrifying killer, an experimental Ebola vaccine tested on humans in the waning days of the West African epidemic has been shown to provide 100 percent protection against the lethal disease. The vaccine has not yet been approved by any regulatory authority, but it is considered so effective that an emergency stockpile of 300,000 doses has already been created for use should an outbreak flare up again.
Which vaccines are in development?
Results from Phase I clinical trials for two vaccine candidates – ChAd3-ZEBOV, developed by Glaxo Smith Kline (GSK) in collaboration with the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), and VSV-EBOV, developed by New Link Genetics and Merck Vaccines USA in collaboration with the Public Health Agency of Canada – were obtained in January. Both vaccine candidates have been shown to be safe and well tolerated in humans. The results from the trials were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
How is Ebola virus disease (EVD) diagnosed?
The symptoms for EVD are similar to the onset of many diseases, including influenza and malaria. The best way to diagnose whether someone with suggestive symptoms is infected with EVD is by taking a body sample, such as blood, and sending it to a laboratory that is properly equipped to handle potential Ebola specimens. In some cases, this may be a bio safety level (BSL) 3 or 4 laboratory in a neighbouring city or country.
In field situations, mobile laboratories can be established in order to reduce the time between transport of the specimens and return of results. In the case of EVD, the delay caused by the need to transport specimens creates significant logistical problems with the management of potential but unconfirmed cases of EVD.