An experiential vaccination, manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline, to protect humans from contracting the Ebola virus has shown promising results. The vaccine study was launched in September of 2014, on 20 healthy individuals and lasted four weeks. The conclusion of the study revealed that the vaccine had not only produced anti-Ebola antibodies, but also a T Cell response which could also be beneficial to fighting off the virus. On Wednesday, the National Institute of Health deemed the vaccine safe for human trial which opens up the floodgates for larger studies to be conducted in areas where the virus is prevalent, such as West Africa.
The Ebola vaccine was developed by the NIH and contains genetic materials from two different strains of Ebola, Zaire and Sudan. The vaccine does not carry the virus itself so it is impossible for an individual to contact the virus through the vaccine. The vaccine uses a chimpanzee cold virus to carry genes that have been injected with a small amount of genetically modified Ebola to human cells. As the engineered virus reaches human cells, the immune system should be triggered to attack and fight off the virus.
As of yet, the greatest hope for the vaccines success seems to lie in those individuals who received a greater dose of the vaccination. This seemed to create the most antibodies and create the best immune system response to the virus. With very little side effects, just a mild fever reported in heavily vaccinated individuals, it appears that giving individuals heavy doses of the vaccine would be the best method in preventing the spread of the Ebola virus. What seems like an easy answer is anything but. Considering the amount of vaccine that would be needed to trigger the immune system to attack the virus, and the amount of individuals that would receive the vaccine, producing the quantity needed could prove to be problematic for officials.
In West Africa alone, Ebola has infected 15,351 and individuals to date. Of these individuals, 5,549 have died from the virus. Many individuals have put their life on the line in order to aid in the prevention and treatment of the outbreak of the virus. To date, there have been 588 health care providers, including doctors and nurses, who have contacted the virus. Of these, 337 have died from the virus.
With numbers of individuals contacting the virus on the rise, it is crucial that the study and development of the Ebola vaccination continues to grow and evolve. Although Ebola vaccines were being developed long before the recent outbreak, it wasn’t until the Africa outbreak that major manufacturers became interested in developing and manufacturing an Ebola vaccine. Currently, there are nine Ebola vaccinations being tested; however, as of yet, the GlaxoSmithKline vaccine is showing the most promise of positive results.
The new vaccine has created quite uproar as people become hopeful of the possible outcome of the vaccines success. The study that was aimed at determining if the vaccination was fit for human consumption has led way to fevered emotions as individuals learn of the vaccines effect on the immune system. Faith is reinstated as individuals all over the world sit with watchful eyes, hoping for the vaccines success.
By Kelli Patterson
Photo courtesy of WHO- Flickr License