Upon successfully trying a promising Ebola vaccine on monkeys, the United States has started tracking Ebola vaccine on human beings.
The human trial of the vaccine is expected to be extended to Africa, where the virus disease has killed thousands, and the UK.
Experiments conducted by the US National Institutes of Health revealed that Monkeys developed long-term immunity to the virus ─ for as long as 10 months ─ after being exposed to the trial drug.
Animal research which informed the decision to begin human trials has now been published in the journal, Nature Medicine.
The Director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr Anthony Fauci, told the BBC that: “The good part of this vaccine is that at five weeks or earlier, you get full protection. “The sobering news is the durability isn’t great, but if you give a boost, a second shot, you make it really durable.”
Emphasizing that healthcare providers and other frontline staff would be prioritized for vaccination, Dr Fauci said: “We knew this worked in the monkey months ago and based on this paper, we started human trials.”
Going by reports, several experimental treatments are currently being considered to help contain the spread of Ebola, including a vaccine being developed by the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline.
A BBC report informs that this treatment uses a genetically modified chimp virus containing components of two species of Ebola – Zaire, which is currently circulating in West Africa, and the common Sudan species. Since the viral vaccine does not replicate inside the body, it is hoped that the immune system gets to react to the Ebola component of the vaccine and develop anti-body.
More than 2,000 people have died in the outbreak of the deadly disease in West Africa, with Nigeria accounting for eight deaths, Liberia-1,089, Guinea -517 and Sierra Leone-491.
The disease was brought to Nigeria by a Liberian-American, Patrick Sawyer, who died in Lagos.