Experimental Ebola vaccines safe

Updated: 2014-12-24 10:24


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LONDON -- Two experimental DNA vaccines to prevent Ebola virus are safe, and they have generated a similar immune response in healthy Ugandan adults, according to the latest findings.

The findings, from the first trial of Ebola vaccine in Africa, are published in the British medical journal The Lancet on Tuesday.

Scientists from the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in the United States developed the DNA vaccines that code for Ebola virus proteins.

The vaccines contain the construction plans for the proteins on the outer surface of the virus. Immune responses against these proteins have shown to be highly protective.

In the phase 1 trial, the Makerere University researchers in Uganda enrolled 108 healthy adults aged between 18 and 50. The tests showed that, both DNA vaccines were well tolerated in Ugandan adults with similar numbers of local and systemic reactions reported in all groups.

"This is the first study to show comparable safety and protection of an experimental Ebola vaccine in an African population," lead author Julie Ledgerwood from the NIAID said.

"This is particularly encouraging because those at the greatest risk of Ebola live primarily in Africa, and diminished vaccine protection in African populations has been seen for other diseases, " said Ledgerwood.

According to Ledgerwood, those findings have already formed the basis of a more potent vaccine, using a harmless chimpanzee cold virus, which is undergoing trials in the United States, Britain, Mali, and Uganda in response to the ongoing Ebola virus outbreak.