Promising results for Experimental Ebola Vaccine

Experimental Ebola Vaccine

Sometimes science move at a break neck pace. An Experimental Ebola vaccine was both well-tolerated and caused an immune reaction against the virus in all 20 healthy adults involved in a recent phase 1 clinical trial.

Ever since the Ebola outbreak started killing people in West Africa more and more resources were moved into research for possible treatments against the disease. Progress in some treatments like monoclonal antibodies or siRNAs do slow the disease, preventing it altogether remains a priority. A new phase 1 clinical trial testing an experimental Ebola vaccine shows promise preventing people from getting the disease in the first place.

Experimental Ebola vaccine

NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) report that a phase 1 clinical trial of an Ebola vaccine shows promise, published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The candidate vaccine was developed collaboratively by scientists at NIAID and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). It uses segments of Ebola virus genetic material from two virus strain, Sudan and Zaire. The genetic material is delivered by an adenovirus that causes common colds in chimpanzees. This setup prevents anyone getting the disease from the vaccine itself.

The clinical trial included people between the age of 18 and 50. Ten of the volunteers received an intramuscular injection of the vaccine at a lower dose and ten at a higher one. Two and four weeks after injection the researchers performed blood tests to find potential anti-Ebola antibodies. All 20 participants did get antibodies within four weeks of getting the experimental vaccine. People who got the higher dose of the vaccine did however get higher levels of the antibodies.

Researchers investigated blood samples to find if the experimental vaccine also stimulated the immune system to produce an immune cell called a T-cell. Researchers believe that T-cells are an important part of immune protection against the viral disease. The vaccine stimulated production of the immune cells in two people getting the lower dose of the vaccine and in seven receiving the higher dose.

Even more good news is that there were no serious adverse effects resulting from the vaccination, the only negative effect was two people who got a fever from the higher dose of the vaccine. Lets hope this is just the first of many clinical trials to find a working Ebola vaccine.