Sunday, December 25, 2016

First Ebola Vaccine Likely To Stop The Next Outbreak

When Ebola struck West Africa a few years ago, the world was defenseless. There was no cure. No vaccine. And the result was catastrophic: More than 11,000 people died. Nearly 30,000 were infected.

Now it looks like such a large outbreak is unlikely to ever happen again. Ever.

The world now has a potent weapon against Ebola: a vaccine that brings outbreaks to a screeching halt, scientists report in The Lancet.

“We were able to estimate the efficacy of the vaccine as being 100 percent in a trial,” says Ira Longini, a biostatistician at the University of Florida, who helped test the vaccine. “It’s very unusual to have a vaccine that protects people perfectly."
By comparison, the flu vaccine last year was about 50 percent effective.

And the Ebola vaccine works lightning fast, within four or five days, he says. So it could even be given after a person is exposed to Ebola but hasn't yet developed the disease.

Longini and his colleagues tested the vaccine on about 4,000 people in Guinea back in 2015, when Ebola was still spreading there. These people were at high risk of getting Ebola because they had had contact with someone who was infected.

When they got the vaccine right away, they were completely protected. No one got sick.

The vaccine — called rVSV-ZEBOV — hasn't been approved yet by either the World Health Organization or the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. That's predicted to happen sometime in 2018.

Read the report:

Story via NPR
Corina Marinescu

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