Scientists reported on Wednesday, an early-stage trials of an experimental Ebola vaccine, two in the United States and four in Africa and Europe, which triggered a robust production of Ebola-fighting antibodies.
The production of antibodies is a substitution for whether vaccines could prevent or even treat the disease, since trials cannot decently expose volunteers to Ebola,.
According to the World Health Organization, at the moment this is no currently available vaccine or specific management for Ebola, which has killed over 10,000 people in West Africa since last spring, making it the worst Ebola epidemic in history, but seemingly appears to be abating.
Developed at the Public Health Agency of Canada and licensed to NewLink Genetics Corp and then to Merck & Co Inc, the trials all tested a vaccine called VSV-ZEBOV, which consisted of a cattle virus called RVSV that has been engineered to carry Ebola genes, which produce proteins meant to generate production of anti-Ebola antibodies.
In the U.S. trials, conducted independently, at the National Institutes of Health and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, 52 healthy adult volunteers received single injections of saline or either of two doses of vaccine, starting last October.
Most common side effects were minor, like pain at the injection site and short-lived fever. All 40 partakers who received the vaccine produced anti-Ebola antibodies within a 28 days period, with a number responding sooner.
A higher dosage triggered three times the antibody response of the lower dose. The “robust” response to a single dose “could be particularly useful in outbreak interventions,” said Col. Stephen Thomas of Walter Reed, senior author of the U.S. paper.
NIH announced last week, the higher dose is being tried in a larger trial in Liberia. Partly through that trial, both VSV-ZEBOV and an experimental vaccine from GlaxoSmithKline PLC called cAd3-EBOZ “appear to be safe.”
Similarly, the other studies showed much promise.
In a synchronize trial in Switzerland, Germany, Gabon and Kenya, 158 healthy volunteers received a placebo or any of five dose-levels of VSV-ZEBOV vaccine.
Even though the Geneva study was momentarily pause last year when 11 of 51 participants developed arthritis, yet “no serious vaccine-related adverse events,” were reported by the researchers. All 150 people who received vaccine developed antibodies to Ebola with higher responses to higher doses.