The devastating epidemic affecting developing countries might soon come to an end as an Ebola vaccine passes human trials with flying colors and promises to end virus outbreak. It has been a tragedy for years, with countries such as Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone suffering great losses due to the viral disease without a defense against it.
So far, it has killed 11,000 people out of the 28,000 infected in only the three countries and cases are still being reported.
It has been around for years, but lack of proper funding has always shelved ideas for an efficient Ebola vaccine. However, new outbreaks has brought forward bigger funds and spread more awareness of the deadly virus that has now led to an effective solution that may put an end to the epidemic once and for all.
Worldwide organization, Doctors Without Borders where involved in the research and claimed that the newly developed Vesicular Stomatitis Virus-Ebola Virus Vaccine (VSV-EBOV) is highly effective in killing the virus and stopping future outbreaks. This will prevent future disasters and save the lives of thousands.
They tested the new vaccine through a process called “ring vaccination”, which essentially implies that when a case is reported to vaccinate the person and everyone they have come in contact with, which would prevent further spreading. They underwent a trial, which due to understandable reasons given the mortality rate of the virus, did not include a placebo group.
It implied 7,651 participants from Guinea, either workers or community facilitators, who were then spread into two groups. Half of them were vaccinated immediately upon reporting the case, while the other half received the medicine three weeks later. While using a placebo would have been highly unethical and dangerous, given that the end results was known to be death, a difference still needed to be made, so they included a delay instead.
For the half who was immediately vaccinated, the VSV-EBOV proved to be 100% effective, with absolutely none infected, while within the other half, 16 people still displayed infection with the virus. It was likely mildly expected, but it still means that out of the over 7,500 people, only 0.21% recorded infection after the vaccine, and it was only due to the three weeks delay.
The ring strategy has helped researchers disperse the outbreak in Guinea and will be now moving on to focusing on a “herd immunity” by protecting the entire population. The trials will continue and it is hoped that, with proper funding which were estimated to be required around $2 billion, the outbreak will cease and the Ebola virus will finally become a disease of the past.
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