Minor side effects: Ebola vaccine can also be used in children
The severe Ebola epidemic in West Africa was declared over two years ago. The outbreak of the dangerous disease claimed the lives of over 11,000 people. Researchers have been working on the development of a vaccine for a long time. Such an active ingredient can also be used for children, scientists now report. The experts determine the correct dose.
Warning of another Ebola outbreak
A total of 22 Ebola outbreaks worldwide have been recorded so far. In 2016 alone, more than 28,600 people in West Africa were affected by the worst outbreak ever. There were 11,300 fatalities at the end of this epidemic. According to experts, it is probably only a matter of time before the next one comes. The World Health Organization (WHO) recently warned that a new outbreak of Ebola is inevitable. It is therefore all the more important that there will soon be a reliable active ingredient against the dangerous infectious disease. An international team of scientists has now successfully tested a vaccine against Ebola viruses.
Vaccine tested on young people for the first time
The bad Ebola outbreak in West Africa prompted medical professionals from many countries to work together to develop a vaccine for human use.
In a global campaign, a total of eight pre-screened vaccine candidates were selected for clinical trials. The rVSVΔG-ZEBOV-GP vaccine has been undergoing clinical tests in Africa since 2015.
Now it could be tested on young people and in different doses for the first time, reports the University of Tübingen in a message.
The subjects received a component made from genetic material from the Ebola virus. This is built into a carrier virus that is harmless to humans, the Vesicular Stomatitis Virus (VSV).
The doctors determined the dose that could offer effective protection against Ebola viruses and tested the vaccine on children for the first time.
The clinical trial was conducted under the direction of tropical medicine specialist Dr. Selidji T. Agnandji (Center de Recherches Médicales de Lambaréné, Gabon) and Professor Peter Kremsner (Institute for Tropical Medicine, University of Tübingen, University Hospital Tübingen).
115 adults, 20 adolescents and 20 children in Gabon had received the vaccine against the viral disease and had developed a good immune system with few side effects. The results of the study were published in the specialist magazine "PLOS Medicine".
Better immune response
It was found that participants from countries affected by Ebola had often trained antibodies against the virus before vaccination and had a better immune response after vaccination than people without antibodies in the blood.
Even low vaccination doses have been able to produce an excellent immune response.
The scientists now want to test for people with antibodies as well as for children and adolescents whether the vaccine dose can be reduced. The questions why the subjects had eliminated the vaccine virus for more than a week were also to be solved, said Kremsner.
"The catastrophic, unforeseen Ebola outbreak in West Africa has shown that it is possible to get academics, aid organizations, industry and sponsors around the table," said the tropical medicine expert.
Professor Peter Kremsner is a member of the consortium of experts that is seeking strategies against Ebola and other diseases at the behest of the WHO in Geneva.
"We need crisis management and an emergency plan in the event of an epidemic, but we also need measures to prevent diseases like Ebola," said the expert.
"We have to further improve and accelerate the development processes of vaccines in order to be able to use them quickly when needed - especially in regions of the world without a good infrastructure for the diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases." (Ad)