Ebola Vaccination

There is currently no vaccine licensed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to protect people from Ebola virus.

An experimental vaccine called rVSV-ZEBOV was found to be highly protective against the virus in a trial conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) and other international partners in Guinea in 2015.

Researchers reported on a human clinical trial of rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine that was apparently effective and relatively safe for vaccination against Ebola disease. The researchers used people (contacts) exposed to Ebola patients during the outbreak in a trial following similar procedures (“ring of exposure”) used to eliminate smallpox.

Researchers randomly assigned the Ebola case exposure patient to get the vaccine at day 0 or 21 days later after being identified as a new case exposure. Although many vaccinated people developed side effects of injection-site pain, mild headache, fatigue and muscle pain, most individuals recovered within a few days and none develop long-term problems.

The study involved 11,841 people. The vaccine was 100% effective in patients who obtained the vaccine at day 0 and those day 0 individuals who had no symptoms within 10 days (due to the approximate average incubation period of Ebola).

There were 23 new cases of Ebola in patients who got the vaccine 21 days later. Three adverse events occurred in the vaccinated population; one had a febrile reaction to the vaccine, one experienced anaphylaxis and one experienced flu or flu-like symptoms but all recovered and remained healthy. Consequently, many investigators consider this vaccine to be a safe and effective vaccine. There is a stockpile of 300,000 doses in reserve for future outbreaks.

The vaccine is in limited supply. In the meantime, 300,000 doses have been committed for an emergency use stockpile under the appropriate regulatory mechanism (Investigational New Drug application [IND] or Emergency Use Authorization [EUA]) in the event an outbreak occurs before FDA approval is received. Scientists continue to study the safety of this vaccine in populations such as children and people with HIV

The rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine is being used in the ongoing 2018-2019 Ebola outbreak in DRC.
Initial data indicates that the vaccine is highly effective.

Time will tell if the “ring of exposure” method of vaccination will stop the outbreak.

Another Ebola vaccine candidate, the recombinant adenovirus type-5 Ebola vaccine, was evaluated in a phase 2 trial in Sierra Leone in 2015. An immune response was stimulated by this vaccine within 28 days of vaccination, the response decreased over six months after injection. Research on this vaccine is ongoing.



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