Scientist in lab

Ebola vaccine passed the trial with 100% success! It is more than anyone expected. This will prevent further epidemics. We couldn’t save lives from virus outbreak in 2014, but the control is in our hands now.

Gloved hands hold syringe
“When the next outbreak hits, we will not be defenseless,” – Marie-Paule Kieny, WHO

How Does Ebola Virus Work?

Ebola virus strikes directly an immune system, in particular, dendric cells. When ebola is attached to dendric cells, it prevents the defensive mechanism and reprograms it. Instead of killing the virus, cells began to produce it. This cause a release of million viruses in the tissue. Another consequence of virus deceit is releasing the fluids into the body, wich further causes internal bleeding. The second victim of ebola strikes is liver cells, causing the organ failure. Basically, ebola virus turns an immune system against us and that is why the mortality is so high.

In 2014 virus infected 20,000 people and  8,368 of them has died. Most of these cases and deaths are taking place in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. Researchers manage to track the virus origin and found it in a tree in the village of Meliandou, Guinea.

Ebola mortality chart 2014
Ebola mortality compared to HIV and Malaria in the most affected countries

Vaccine Development

Scientists from the National Microbiology Laboratory, Canada created the vesicular stomatitis virus–Ebola virus, known as VSV-EBOV. It is recombinant, which contains vesicular stomatitis virus. Genetically is instructed to provoke the immune system to fight against the complete virus. The vaccine variant, known as rVSV-ZEBOV, expresses a protein found on the surface of the Zaire Ebolavirus. Side effects of the vaccine are joint pain and headache. Almost 6, 000 received this vaccine and none of them developed Ebola. This is a great result, but more work has to be done, as this vaccine doesn’t work against other four subtypes of the virus. Still, it is very promising for further research and development.

This trial is led by the World Health Organization, the Guinean Health Ministry, Norway’s Institute of Public Health and it is licensed to Merck. Although it is not yet approved by any authority, public health experts have already stockpiled 300,000 doses of the vaccine. Further research will be focused on vaccine effects on the kids and vulnerable groups ( HIV-infected ). If all goes well, the vaccine license will be submitted by the end of 2017.