Its trial, if eventually found to be safe and effective, will go a long way to help . It will also be the breakthrough researchers are aiming at in proving a vaccine that would help curb the devastating effect of Ebola on human lives. Recently, researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, United States, US, and the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, US, discovered a new type of Ebola vaccine that can be inhaled into the lungs instead of injecting the body. The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation titled: Aerosolized Ebola Vaccine protects Primates and Elicits Lung-resident T Cell Responses.
The new vaccine is made from a mild, very common respiratory virus, called human para influenza virus type 3, HPIV3, which has been engineered to include genes from the Ebola virus that encode the proteins of the virus’s outer coat.
In a biomedical research, the vaccine was giving to six rhesus macaque monkeys by placing a nebuliser mask over their faces, delivering the vaccine into their noses and mouths. A month later, the team injected the monkeys with a dose of Ebola virus that was 1,000 times the level that would be deadly. None of the monkeys died or developed severe cases of Ebola, although a few developed mild depression.
The researchers found that the engineered virus infiltrated monkey’s respiratory tracts, and replicated there, triggering the cells to produce many copies of the Ebola virus’s coat. The immune system, in turn, recognised that outer coat as foreign, and activated a response.
Alexander Bukreyev, a virologist at the University of Texas Medical Branch and co-author of the study, said although this Ebola vaccine still has to clear many hurdles before it could be use in large numbers of people, it could have advantages over other vaccines in development. “This study demonstrates successful aerosol vaccination against hemorrhagic fever for the first time. Administration of such a vaccine will not require trained medical personnel, he said.”
In addition, he said, “The National Institutes of Health is currently starting a Phase I trial of the vaccine, in a small number of people, to see if the drug is safe. Then, further studies will be needed to confirm that the vaccine is both safe and effective, which means it will likely take at least three years before the vaccine can be used in the field.”
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