Ebola vaccine studies may have just placed the deadly virus on the run. According to a new study from the National Institutes of Health, researchers have found an effective vaccine for providing protection against the Ebola virus.
However, according to preliminary tests, the shot must be given in two parts -- firstly, the "prime-boost," which primes the immune system, and secondly, an alternative vaccine given two months later that acts as a booster.
With the Ebola virus spreading at an alarming rate and the first case predicted for the U.S. sometime in September, this finding cannot come soon enough.
The NIH is putting together some healthy volunteers at this point to roll up their sleeves and become a part of the first human study. They note that neither of the two shots can cause the Ebola virus.
"The first dose, to prime the immune system, was that original chimp virus-based Ebola vaccine," explains the Boston Herald. "But for the booster two months later, they made vaccine a different way. They encased the same Ebola gene pieces inside a poxvirus that's used to make a vaccine against smallpox."
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and his employees led the study, and they claim that trying the initial prime-boost on the monkeys left subjects only half protected after a 10-month period.
With the group that got the second booster, all were still protected after the same period of time.
While the protection does wane over time, this could be the beginning of something extraordinary.
However, this Ebola vaccine study is not the first time we've told you about a possible drug to prevent or cure the deadly disease. ZMAPP, the experimental drug given to two U.S. doctors who contracted the virus and survived, is showing a lot of promise.
The only drawback with ZMAPP is that the company behind it is very small, and the drug has to be frozen and thawed out before it can be administered, making it a logistical nightmare in terms of transport.
The Ebola virus is undoubtedly terrifying and boasts a mortality rate well beyond 50 percent. The World Health Organization has noted that this particular outbreak, which has killed more than 1,000, has been difficult to contain due to the developments of air travel.
As a result, a viable Ebola vaccine may be the best chance of fighting it. But what do you think, readers? Would you take an Ebola vaccine if one were available, or is it still too experimental?
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