Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Blog 7: Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway

Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in Africa

            There has been a major rush to find an effective vaccine to prevent Ebola.  Researchers have been running clinical trials for anti-Ebola vaccines since last summer.  It is too early to say that any of the vaccines in trial are working; however, they are seeing positive results.  Currently, trial candidates that are infected with the Ebola virus have been selected in the West African countries of Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and other countries where the virus remains active.  Dr. Mark Mulligan treated an American doctor, exposed to the Ebola virus, with an investigative vaccine and reported the results of the trial in the Journal of the American Medical Association.  “We saw strong responses from the innate immune system, the immediate responses, the first defenders in our body, and also from the subsequent antibodies and T cells that we want a vaccine to produce," said Mulligan.  He did not develop the disease.  Even though researchers have made a lot of ground and are seeing positive results, there is still a great amount of work to do.  If the virus happens to evolve, it would render the current vaccines in trial ineffective. "A lot of these different vaccines and treatments were developed against one species of Ebola, and a particular strain of that species, so there are five different species of Ebola virus. Three of those cause disease and morbidity, mortality in man," said Dr. Thomas Geisbert.

            It is good to hear that researchers are coming close to develop a vaccine or some type of treatment option against the deadly Ebola virus.  The disease has already claimed over 10, 000 West African lives.  A cure should be their top priority, especially since West Africa is at risk of another outbreak, which has the potential to be more devastating than the last.  "It could benefit people if this outbreak went the wrong way again. And, even more importantly, these could be incredibly important tools for future outbreaks," said Dr. Jesse Goodman.

Brandon Smith


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