WHO: Trials Show Ebola Vaccine 'Highly Effective'

By Ashwin Subramania - 31 Jul '15 08:53AM
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The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that according to preliminary studies, the newly developed vaccine against the Ebola virus has led to 100 percent protection and could fully transform the way Ebola is tackled around the world.

WHO feels the findings (published recently in Lancet) could be 'game changer' and the experts have said the results so far were 'remarkable' as well.

The vaccine trial was originally centred around the VSV-EBOV vaccine that was started by the Public Health Agency of Canada and was later developed by the pharmaceutical company Merck.

Scientists used a fragment of the Ebola virus with that of another safer virus to help train the immune system so that it could beat the disease.

Marie-Paule Kieny, an assistant director general at the WHO told BBC News: "It is certainly promising. We have seen that where rings have been vaccinated, the transmission has stopped.

"Prior to vaccination there were cases, cases, cases. The vaccine arrives and 10 days later the cases are flat.

"It could be a game-changer because previously there was nothing, despite the disease being identified 40 years ago.

"When there is a new outbreak this vaccine will be put to use to stop the outbreak as soon as possible to not have the terrible disaster we have now."

Since 2014, out of the 28,000 people who were infected with the virus, 11,000 people died.

The sheer scale of the Ebola outbreak in the last few months has pushed pharmaceutical companies to quickly develop a vaccine.

Prof John Edmunds, from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, helped design the trial: "The development has been at an absolutely unprecedented speed.

"This is very good news, these are very significant results, the epidemic is not over and this shows we have another potential weapon.

"The trial is still continuing, these are interim results which need confirming, but there's now light at the end of the tunnel."

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