A new Ebola vaccine is being called “highly effective” following a small study in Guinea, West Africa.
News that an Ebola vaccine trialled in Guinea has proved 100 percent effective has elicited both excitement and caution from a range of actors closely involved in the outbreak, which also struck Liberia and Sierra Leone and has claimed more than 11,000 lives since March 2014. It appeared that all vaccinated individuals were protected against Ebola virus infection within 6 to 10 days of vaccination.
WHO Assistant-Director-General Marie-Paule Kieny said: “What we have started to work on…is to see what should be done for other diseases of epidemic potential, prior to any epidemic starting”.
“The Mission has achieved its core objective of scaling up the response on the ground and establishing unity of goal among responders in support of the nationally led efforts”, Ban said, adding that as of 1 August, oversight of the UN system’s Ebola emergency response will fully be led by WHO under the direct authority of its Director-General, Dr Chan.
Hailing the outcomes of the trial, the World Well being Group (WHO) stated the worldwide group is “on the verge of an efficient Ebola vaccine”, AFP reported.
“The initial results of the study show that the vaccine can effectively contain the further spread of the Ebola virus“, said the University of Bern, which contributed to the research. It is unclear how soon the vaccine protects those inoculated against Ebola, how long the protection lasts, what side-effects the vaccine may have, especially on high-risk groups such as pregnant women and children.
The WHO is hoping to learn from the development of an Ebola vaccine, which has proceeded at lightning speed compared to normal drug development but only really took off once the Ebola outbreak was already at crisis point.
A vaccine for the Ebola virus – the first of its kind in the disease’s 40-year recorded history – shows promise in trials in Guinea, according to a report released Friday in the medical journal Lancet. The trial was conducted by a team that included researchers from the World Health Organization (WHO), the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, the Health Ministry of Guinea and Médecins sans Frontières, among others. The randomization has since stopped so that everyone can get vaccinated. However, it’s believed that this number will fall as it’s administered to more people. First to be vaccinated are people who had been in close contact with an Ebola patient, then those at a slightly more indirect risk, and so on.
Jeremy Farrar, a leading infectious disease specialist and director of the Wellcome Trust, which helped fund the trial, described the results as “remarkable“.
Merck’s vaccine-licensed from NewLink Genetics and the Public Health Agency of Canada-utilizes a rabies-like virus that has been modified to include an Ebola virus gene.
The publication of research showing the efficacy of the Ebola VSV-ZEBOV vaccine represents an incredible and humbling achievement that has only been possible due to the global collaboration of researchers, NGOs, governments, industry and funders – all working towards a unified goal.
The Lancet said the Guinea trial would continue gathering evidence of the VS-ZEBOV’s effectiveness and safety.