Scientists are not declaring victory yet, but it's a huge step forward in the effort to eradicate the disease that remains a problem in Africa.
Scientists have found that a single dose of an inhalable Ebola vaccine they have developed successfully protected monkeys from a dosage of Ebola that was 1,000 times the lethal amount.
Even more importantly, the vaccine wouldn’t require highly trained medical personnel to distribute it — although scientists are cautious because there was a vaccine earlier this year that was successful in primates but not in humans, according to a UPI report.
Scientists are calling this a positive step forward rather than a sure-fire cure. The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.
For the study, researchers gave the vaccine to 10 rhesus macaques, with four of them have received one dose, four receiving two doses, and two given a liquid form of the vaccine. They also gave no vaccine to two more monkeys. After four weeks since the monkeys had been vaccinated, they were given an injection that had a thousand times the lethal dose of Ebola.
The two unvaccinated monkeys died within a week, but the 10 that had received the vaccine all survived. When they were euthanized and their bodies examined, no sign of Ebola was present in the blood or tissues.
Researchers also looked to see which performed better: the aerosol or liquid vaccine. They found that the aerosol actually produced a stronger immune response than the liquid form, and since Ebola can be spread through the air, this attribute could be important for its effectiveness.
Ever since last year’s outbreak, Ebola has been slowly losing its grip on West Africa, particularly the countries of Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea. However, recent small resurgences in the disease have concerned scientists, and health officials want a vaccine to prevent a future outbreak.