Novel Ebola Vaccine Shows Potential in Monkey Trial

Findings prompted start of first human trial of vaccine last week, officials say

MONDAY, Sept. 8, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- An experimental Ebola vaccine has shown promise in a trial involving monkeys, according to a report published online Sept. 7 in the journal Nature Medicine.

In the trial, a team led by Nancy Sullivan, Ph.D., chief of the biodefense research section at the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, kick-started the monkeys' immune systems by first giving them an injection of a virus to which the animals had already been exposed and then giving them the Ebola virus. This two-shot approach provided immunity for up to 10 months, the researchers said. The researchers also tried a single-shot version of the vaccine but found that it worked for only about five weeks.

Based on the results of the trial, the two-shot version of the vaccine is now being tested for the first time in humans, said Anthony Fauci, M.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

In an interview with HealthDay, Fauci described the human trial: "This will take us, at the minimum, to the end of the year. And if it is safe and does have a response that you would predict would be protective, then you would move on to the next phase to study it over a year to find out what the right dose is, what the response is, and the long-term safety."

Some study authors claim intellectual property on gene-based vaccines for the Ebola virus. Others have patents issued or pending for chimpanzee adenovirus 3 and filovirus vaccine.

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