Ebola Potential Vaccine Shelved for Almost a Decade


A potential Ebola vaccine was reportedly put on the shelf for nearly a decade. Scientists in the United States and Canada stated they had developed a vaccine that was allegedly 100 percent effective in defending monkeys from the Ebola disease. Such results were said to have been published in an unnamed science journal, and health officials stated that they were exhilarated.

The researchers exclaimed that tests in humans could begin within two years, and a vaccine might possibly be ready for licensing by 2010. However, this never came to pass. The serum remained sitting on some shelf and now there are almost 5,000 individuals dead from the Ebola virus. An epidemic is running rampant in West Africa and the vaccine is now only in the most basic of welfare tests in human beings.

Its progress became halted in part due to the fact the illness was uncommon, and up to the present time; outbreaks had only infested a couple hundred people at any one time. However, professionals also admitted that the failure of any follow-ups of such an encouraging prospect reflected a much larger failure to harvest vaccines and medicines needed for illnesses that affected poorer countries. Most drug companies avoid spending large amounts of money to produce vaccines for poor countries that have little to no capability to pay for them.

Now, as the increasing epidemic overwhelms West Africa and is also seen as a possible danger to other countries, aid type groups and various governments have started opening their checkbooks. An outbreak of examination to assess vaccines and drugs has started, with clinical observations have began like never before. There is also one for the vaccine created 10 years ago. Without any medications presently on the market, the rushed up efforts are a frantic measure to halt an illness which has rebelled against any traditional ways of controlling it.

Previously, there was not much interest in developing an Ebola vaccine simply because drug companies did not quite understand how to mass market it. It had to take an epidemic such as what has presently occurred to start the market doing its job.

Researchers who have created a sample vaccine, which works in monkeys often find that none of the big drug companies will aid them in going on over in crossing the finish line. They might have spent somewhere around a few million dollars up to that time but when they have to begin testing in actual human begins, the costs go up past the hundreds of millions in dollars marks. When scientists want to attempt to bring a brand new vaccine to the drug market, it can cost nearly $ 2 billion to get started. Anyone who invests in such drugs expects to get paid back his or her investment.

The Ebola vaccine that was basically forgotten about is produced from another virus known as vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV). It creates a disease of the mouth in cattle but hardly ever infects humans. It has also been used to make other vaccines as well. Scientists changed VSV by taking out one of its genes and making the virus innocuous. They then took one of the Ebola virus genes and implanted it in the VSV. The displaced gene makes VSV bud Ebola proteins on its exterior. The proteins are unable to cause the virus, but they incite an immune response that from monkeys, which are thought to be good substitutes for people, were able to fight off the virus. The World Health Organization has started performing tests of the vaccine on volunteers.

By Kimberly Ruble


ABC News

The N.Y. Times

The Boston Globe

Photo by NIAID – Flickr License

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