“The “ring” vaccination method adopted for the vaccine trial is based on the smallpox eradication strategy”, John-Arne Røttingen, M.D., Ph.D., director of the division of infectious disease control at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and chair of the study’s Steering Group, explained in the news release. More than 7,600 people in Guinea have received the vaccine, known as rVSV-ZEBOV, in a study that targeted people from communities with cases of Ebola. But, to their eternal credit, a global partnership of researchers, governments, NGOs, companies and funders managed to accomplish something that too many have for too long filed in the drawer marked “too difficult”: conducting a trial in the midst of an epidemic. The inclusion criteria will be widened, and the study could potentially be extended from Guinea to Sierra Leone and Liberia. Normal vaccine trials can take decades to produce results, but thanks to 4,000 people in Guinea who volunteered for the trials, along with a combined effort by multiple countries and organizations, the life-saving vaccine will be saving lives right away. An article published by the British medical journal, The Lancet, says that the trial suggested 100 percent effectiveness.
So now that rVSV-EBOV manufacturer Merck seems poised to gather the necessary licensing data, vaccine skeptics must be expecting an enormous payday for the company.
Trials indicate new antibody for Ebola infection ‘exceedingly successful, ‘ could help anticipate future episodes.
Late researches show that many deadly outbreaks can now be prevented with a global vaccine fund.
At the moment, officials think the vaccine would only be used once an outbreak starts, to protect those at high-risk; there are no plans to introduce mass vaccination campaigns like those for measles or polio or to create huge stockpiles of the shots.
Liberia and Sierra Leone underwent extended civil wars during the 1990s and early 2000s where millions were displaced causing the fleeing of healthcare professionals and educators. VSV-EBOV is a recombinant, replication-competent vaccine, consisting of a vesicular stomatitis virus, which has been genetically engineered to express Ebola glycoproteins so as to provoke an immune response against the complete Ebola virus.
“It looks to be about as safe as a flu vaccine”, said Ben Neuman, a virologist at the University of Reading who was not part of the trial.
The humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders will take course of action in conducting a trial of the same vaccine on front line workers, who interact directly with infected patients. “I don’t see any reason on humanitarian grounds why it should not be used immediately”. However, further tests need to be carried out before administering it to pregnant women or children. In September, the WHO-supported collaboration pulled out all the stops to accelerate testing of treatments and vaccines that had shown promise in animals.
Since the initial outbreak of the virus in March 2014, Ebola has infected 27,780 people and has killed 11,290, according to the WHO. While the vaccine may prove to be a little less than 100 per cent effective in the long run, this is still a remarkable success story.