Is Ebola curable? New vaccine evokes robust antibody responses



By Newsgram Staff Writer

There’s good news in the area of Ebola prevention. A preliminary human trial has found an experimental Ebola vaccine safe and it also evoked robust antibody responses.

The test for a vaccine called VSV-ZEBOV, which was conducted on 40 healthy adults was reported online in The New England Journal of Medicine.

“The prompt, dose-dependent production of high levels of antibodies following a single injection and the overall favourable safety profile of this vaccine make VSV-ZEBOV a promising candidate that might be particularly useful in outbreak interventions,” said one of the lead investigators Richard Davey from National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in US.

According to the report, the volunteers accepted the vaccine well and the most common side effects of it were injection site pain and transient fever that was on and off between 12 to 36 hours after vaccination.

The experimental vaccine is based on a genetically modified and attenuated vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), a virus that mainly affects cattle. In it, a gene for a VSV protein was replaced with a gene segment from a key protein in the Zaire species of the Ebola virus. However the vaccine does not contain the whole Ebola virus and therefore cannot infect vaccinated persons with Ebola.

An earlier study had stated that another experimental Ebola vaccine developed by the Beijing Institute of Biotechnology and the Tianjin CanSino Biotechnology in China provoked immune response in recipients.

Scientists at the Public Health Agency of Canada developed the candidate vaccine. It was licensed to NewLink Genetics Corp. of Ames, Iowa, a company collaborating with Merck & Co. Inc., of Kenilworth, New Jersey in the US.