In it’s recent outbreak in 2014 West African Makona strain of Ebola Zaire virus killed more than 10000 people mainly from West African Nations. Even though the things have eased up a bit with some effective counter measures against the virus we still can’t put away the possibility of another more catastrophic outbreak as the frequency of contact between humans and natural Ebola virus hosts such as bats will likely rise with the population growth.
Many laboratories around the globe made their approaches towards an effective vaccine against this Virus, and few have shown promise in animal trials.
A team of researchers from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and Profectus BioSciences, Inc. has developed a vaccine effective against Ebola Zaire with a single dose in a nonhuman primate model. This new vaccine employs a virus not harmful to humans called vesicular stomatitis virus that had a part of the Ebola virus inserted into it. This “Trojan horse” vaccine safely triggered an immune response against Ebola Zaire.
“These findings may pave the way for the identification and manufacture of safer, single dose, high efficiency vaccines to combat current and future Ebola outbreaks,” said Thomas Geisbert, UTMB professor of microbiology and immunology. “We are excited at the possibility of helping develop a way to stop this deadly disease. We have a lot of more work to accomplish but it’s important to note that this is a big step.”
Going further scientists have developed two other vaccines with further weakened Viruses to address future safety issues. And since these vaccines are actually against much older Strain of the virus ( Mayinga strain from 1976 outbreak) they were not completely sure about the effectiveness of these vaccines against the new Makona strain of the EBOLA virus.
“It was not known whether any of these vaccines could provide protection against the new outbreak West African Makona strain of Ebola Zaire currently circulating in Guinea,” said John Eldridge, Chief Scientific Officer-Vaccines at Profectus Biosciences, Inc. “Our findings show that our candidate vaccines provided complete, single dose protection from a lethal amount of the Makona strain of Ebola virus.”
If these two vaccines show the same level of effectiveness in human trials this will be a major breakthrough in fight against EBOLA.
The findings are available in detail in the new edition of Nature.
UTMB press release on this work is available here.