About two years ago, the severe Ebola epidemic in West Africa was declared over. More than 11,000 people died from the outbreak of the dangerous disease. Researchers worked for a long time on the development of a vaccine. Such an active ingredient is also suitable for children, scientists now report. The experts determine the right dose.
Warning about further outbreaks of Ebola
A total of 22 Ebola outbreaks worldwide have been reported so far. In 2016 alone, more than 28,600 people in West Africa were affected by the worst outbreak of all time.11,300 deaths were reported at the end of this epidemic. Experts say it's probably only a matter of time before the next one comes. For example, the World Health Organization( WHO) recently warned that a new Ebola outbreak is inevitable. All the more important, therefore, is that there will soon be a reliable drug against the dangerous infectious disease. An international team of scientists has now successfully tested a vaccine against Ebola viruses.
vaccine first tested in young people
The devastating Ebola outbreak in West Africa prompted medics from many countries to work together to develop a vaccine for human use.
In a global action, a total of eight clinical trials were selected from vaccine candidates previously tested. The vaccine rVSVΔG-ZEBOV-GP has been undergoing clinical trials in Africa since 2015.
Now it could be tested for the first time on young people and in different dosages, reports the University of Tübingen in a statement.
The subjects were given a component from genetic material of the Ebola virus. This is incorporated into a human harmless carrier virus, the Vesicular Stomatitis Virus( VSV).
The physicians determined the dose that could provide effective protection against Ebola viruses and first tested the vaccine on children.
The clinical trial was conducted under the direction of the tropical physician Dr. med. Selidji T. Agnandji( Center de Recherches Médicales de Lambaréné, Gabon) and Professor Peter Kremsner( Institute of Tropical Medicine, University of Tübingen, University Hospital Tübingen).
115 adults, 20 adolescents and 20 children received the vaccine against viral disease in Gabon and developed a good immune system with minimal side effects. The results of the study were published in the journal "PLOS Medicine".
Better Immune Response
It turned out that participants from countries affected by Ebola had often developed antibodies against the virus before vaccination and showed a better immune response after vaccination than people without antibodies in the blood.
Low vaccine doses were able to produce an excellent immune response.
The scientists now want to test for people with antibodies as well as children and adolescents, whether the vaccine dose can be reduced. To be solved is also the questions why the vaccine virus was excreted by the subjects more than a week, said Kremsner.
"The catastrophic, unforeseen Ebola outbreak in West Africa has shown that it is possible to bring together academics, aid organizations, industry and sponsors," said the tropical medicine doctor.
Professor Peter Kremsner is a member of the expert consortium, which seeks strategies against Ebola and other epidemics at the request of WHO in Geneva.
"We need a crisis management and contingency plan in the event of an epidemic, as well as precautionary measures against diseases like Ebola," the expert said.
"We need to continue improving and accelerating vaccine development processes so that they can be deployed quickly when needed, especially in regions of the world without a good infrastructure for the diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases."( Ad)