The World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that a new experimental vaccine proved 100% effective against Ebola based on preliminary results. In a large study the organization conducted in Guinea, where Ebola is still at large, not a single vaccinated individual developed the disease.
Ebola virus disease (EVD), formally known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, is a severe infectious disease that results in roughly 50% mortality of those affected. Even though the deadly West African outbreak was contained last year, Ebola still poses a significant threat to several African countries, including Guinea with 3.000 confirmed cases of the disease.
The Lancet reports new hope may lie in the experimental drug developed by WHO with a rather tricky name: recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus–Zaire Ebola virus (or rVSV-ZEBOV). It works as a vaccine expressing an immunogenic surface protein of the Zaire Ebola virus.
“While these compelling results come too late for those who lost their lives during West Africa’s Ebola epidemic, they show that when the next Ebola outbreak hits, we will not be defenseless,” commented study author Marie-Paule Kieny.
The new vaccine showed exceptional results, preventing the onset of EVD in all of nearly 6.000 vaccinated individuals, whereas 23 cases of the disease were confirmed in the control group. In other good news, the drug seems to be safe so far, with only a few individuals showing mild adverse effects and no long-term complications. Hurray!
“This both historical and innovative trial was made possible thanks to exemplary international collaboration and coordination, the contribution of many experts worldwide, and strong local involvement.” said chairman of the study John-Arne Røttingen.
Our numerous accomplishments in the battle against Ebola show just how successful we can be when we stand together, and the latest drug could be the biggest milestone yet.
Watch the report about the new vaccine in the video bellow:
By Luka Zupančič, MSc, University of Applied Sciences Technikum Vienna