According to the World Health Organization (WHO) a newly developed vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus is “highly effective” and could help prevent its spread in the current and future outbreaks.
WHO stated that trials of the single-dose VSV-EBOV vaccine began earlier this year in Guinea — one of three West African nations at the center of the recent outbreak — and have shown such promise that this week it was decided to extend immediate vaccination to “all people at risk” after close contact with an infected person.
This is an extremely promising development. The credit goes to the Guinean government, the people living in the communities and our partners in this project. An effective vaccine will be another very important tool for both current and future Ebola outbreaks,” said Dr. Margaret Chan, the body’s director-general.
More research is needed, but the results so far on this trial show 100% efficacy.
In the Guinea trial, published today in The Lancet, 4,000 people with close ties to Ebola patients either received the vaccine immediately or three weeks after the identification of an Ebola patient in their social circle. Among the 2,014 people who received the drug immediately, no cases of Ebola were reported, starting 10 days after the initial vaccination, which is the time period needed to develop immunity. There were 16 cases of Ebola in the group that were given the vaccine three weeks later, however.
The results of this interim analysis indicate that rVSV-ZEBOV might be highly effective and safe in preventing Ebola virus disease,” the researchers write in the study.
An independent body of international experts reviewed the study’s results and decided that the trial should continue. Starting July 26th, all of the study’s participants were given the vaccine immediately, instead of putting half in a delayed group. In addition, the trial will now be open to teenagers aged 13 to 17; it’s possible that the trial will soon include children age 6 to 12 as well. These results don’t mean that the world now has an Ebola vaccine. The vaccine needs to undergo further safety and efficacy testing.
Jeremy Farrar, a leading infectious disease specialist and director of the Wellcome Trust, which helped fund the trial, described the results as “remarkable”.
This trial dared to use a highly innovative and pragmatic design, which allowed the team in Guinea to assess this vaccine in the middle of an epidemic. Our hope is that this vaccine will now help bring this epidemic to an end and be available for the inevitable future Ebola epidemics,” he said.
Bertrand Draguez, medical director of Doctors without Borders (MSF), which has led the fight against Ebola in West Africa, also said:
For the first time there is a prospect of a tool that could protect lives and break chains of transmission.”
More than 11,200 people have died from Ebola since the epidemic began in Guinea in December 2013.
This and other vaccine trials were fast-tracked with enormous international effort as researchers raced to be able to test potential therapies and vaccines whilst the virus was still circulating.
via CNN News