Tuesday August 14, 2018

Chinese scientists develop Ebola vaccine; new drug found safe in early human trials

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By Newsgram Staff Writer

Scientist of the Beijing Institute of Biotechnology and the Tianjin Can Sino Biotechnology, have developed a new Ebola virus vaccine which will have lasting immunity. This vaccine has been found to be safe in the first phase, one trial based on the 2014 strain of the virus.

Until now, all tested Ebola virus vaccines have been based on the virus strain from the Zaire outbreak in 1976.

“On the basis of our findings, we believe that the Ebola vaccine we assessed has some potential,” said researcher Fengcai Zhu from the Jiangsu Provincial Center for Disease Prevention and Control in China.

“A significant advantage of this type of vaccine is that stable and much easier to store or transport in tropical areas with inadequate cold-chain capacity, such as Africa,” Zhu added.

For the trial, 120 healthy Chinese adults were randomly assigned in equal numbers to receive placebo, a low dose, or high dose of the vaccine.

The researchers found that 28 days after vaccination, 38 out of 40 participants in the low-dose group and all 40 of those in the high-dose group had a positive immune response to the vaccine, with participants in the high-dose group producing higher quantities of antibodies than those in the low-dose group.

However, the researchers are not sure if this vaccine will be the perfect vaccine to fight Ebola virus.
“Whether this candidate vaccine could become a final vaccine for widespread use against Ebola outbreaks is still uncertain, because of the issues of HIV-1 acquisition rates and the pre-existing immunity, especially in west Africa,” Zhu noted.

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As Refugees Flee DR Congo, UN Steps Up to Reduce The Risk of Ebola

The UNHCR says refugees are at the same risk of contracting and transmitting the Ebola virus disease as local farmers, merchants, business people and others moving through the area.

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A Congolese health worker checks the temperature of a man before the launch of vaccination campaign against the deadly Ebola virus near Mangina village, near the town of Beni in North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo. VOA

The U.N. refugee agency reports it is stepping up efforts to reduce the risk of the spread of the deadly Ebola virus as refugees flee DR Congo. Latest estimates put the number of confirmed and probable cases of Ebola in eastern DRC at 49, including 38 deaths.

The U.N. refugee agency is working closely with DRC authorities and other agencies on actions to contain Ebola on the national and regional level. But, its main focus is to monitor possible Ebola infections among refugees fleeing across the border, mainly to Uganda, from conflict ridden North Kivu and Ituri.

UNHCR spokesman, William Spindler says the number of newly arriving refugees into Uganda from these two Ebola affected provinces increased during July from 170 a day to 250 a day. He says the majority currently is crossing at the Kisoro border point.

A family sits outside in a neighborhood where three people died of Ebola last month, in Mbandaka, Congo, June 1, 2018. For the first time since the Ebola virus was identified more than 40 years ago, a vaccine has been dispatched to front line health workers.
A family sits outside in a neighborhood where three people died of Ebola last month, in Mbandaka, Congo,
VOA

“So UNHCR is working with WHO, UNICEF and other partners and with the Ministry of Health of Uganda to intensify screening for Ebola at all border entry points. And, additional health workers have been deployed in the border districts to improve response capacity,” he said.

Spindler notes the World Health Organization is not recommending any restriction on the movement of people. Therefore, he says UNHCR is urging countries neighboring DRC to allow refugees in need of protection to enter their territory and to include them into preparedness and response plans and activities.

Also Read: United Nations Security Council to Closse 13-year-old Haiti Peacekeeping Mission in October

The UNHCR says refugees are at the same risk of contracting and transmitting the Ebola virus disease as local farmers, merchants, business people and others moving through the area. Therefore, it urges governments and local communities not to adopt measures that single out refugees. Those measures may not be scientifically sound and will only serve to stigmatize and restrict refugees’ freedom of movement. (VOA)