Canadian researchers have shown a breakthrough in developing vaccines for ebola and marburg. Both viruses have killed hundreds this year alone, and
this is the first time vaccines have proven effective in monkeys. A vaccine for humans could be ready in approximately six years, but given an
emergency situation the development could be fast tracked.
Jubilant Canadian researchers have announced a world breakthrough in developing vaccines against the lethal Ebola and Marburg viruses.
Working with the U.S. Army, researchers at Health Canada's National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg have produced a single-dose vaccine that
successfully protects monkeys against the two closely related viruses.
The viruses, which have killed hundreds of people in central Africa this year alone, are considered a potential bio-terrorism threat and have no known
treatment or cure. It is the first time a Marburg vaccine has been shown to work in monkeys.
A human vaccine could be ready for production in five to six years, but it could be fast-tracked for use sooner in response to an emergency, Dr. Steve
Jones of the laboratory told a news conference in Winnipeg on Friday. It was held in advance of the announcement which was embargoed until yesterday
when it was published in the journal Nature Medicine.
The vaccine for "two of the most lethal organisms we know of" highlights the scientific capacity Canada has built up at the Winnipeg facility, one of
only three highly secure Level 4 labs in the world, and also the importance of international co-operation, said Dr. Frank Plummer, its scientific
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It was a year and a half ago that the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) opened human trials for a vaccine against ebola.
Volunteer test subjects were few and far between despite the fact that the vaccine contained no live ebola virus.
I haven't heard anything about this since the time of the vaccine trials, and I wonder what happened with it. Especially since in this article it
seems as though they're talking and thinking as though they will be the first to create the vaccine.
Does this mean a failure of the previous vaccine to protect against ebola? I'll be looking for more info on that.
This is a good thing to hear, though, especially with the marburg and ebola outbreaks this year. The only problem I can see is the potential to assume
that both viruses are being spread only by monkey. These vaccines that have proven effective in monkeys may not prove effective in other animals that
can carry it, and since a host animal for both viruses is unknown, may not help to stem the spread of the deadly viruses.
A human vaccine is ideal due to these factors, which is why I'm very curious to find out more about the human vaccine trials from 2003.
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