Vaccine gives monkeys Ebola immunity

NEW YORK - Vaccinated monkeys have developed "long-term" immunity to the Ebola virus, raising a prospect of successful human trials, say scientists.

The experiments by the US National Institutes of Health showed immunity could last at least 10 months.

Human trials of the vaccine started this week in the US and will extend to the UK and Africa.

The World Health Organization says more than 2,000 people have now died in the outbreak in West Africa.

Several experimental treatments are now being considered to help contain the spread of Ebola.

This includes a vaccine being developed by the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline.

It uses a genetically modified chimp virus containing components of two species of Ebola - Zaire, which is currently circulating in West Africa, and the common Sudan species.

The viral vaccine does not replicate inside the body, but it is hoped the immune system will react to the Ebola component of the vaccine and develop immunity.

Animal research, on which the decision to begin human trials was based, has now been published in the journal Nature Medicine.

It shows four crab-eating macaques all survived what would have been a fatal dose of Ebola virus five weeks later.

However, only half survived an infection 10 months after immunisation.

Dr Anthony Fauci, the director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told the BBC: "The good part of this vaccine is that at five weeks or earlier you get full protection.

"The sobering news is the durability isn't great, but if you give a boost, a second shot, you make it really durable."

"We knew this worked in the monkey months ago and based on this paper we started human trials."

For now this is the best evidence available on how successful such a vaccine would be in people.

Comments (3)

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GALLERYCARTRIDGES - 8 September 2014

In the mean time African governments spend millions on cars and military related expenses but not a single one of them has put money into looking for a vaccine. After the vaccine is developed the very same countries want to dictate the price! Africa, sometimes I hate being African. Our leaders are among the worst on this planet.

Bingo Wokwa Gutu - 10 September 2014

True that my brother and we wonder what has the world become

JOLOLO - 19 September 2014

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