Aug 4, 2015

Ebola vaccine trial proves 100% successful in Guinea

Next Big FutureFor more than a year and a half, three of the world's poorest countries have struggled against the most devastating Ebola epidemic in human history. Containing this unprecedented outbreak would have been a huge challenge for Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone under any conditions. But the scale of the task was far greater because of the absence of the most effective possible defence: a vaccine.

That may all be about to change. I normally like to avoid superlatives when describing the interim results of a medical trial, but it is difficult to talk about the report of the experimental Ebola vaccine in the Lancet as being anything less than spectacular. More than 7,600 people in Guinea have received the vaccine, known as rVSV-ZEBOV, in a study that targeted people from communities with cases of Ebola. None who received it immediately has so far contracted the virus. That's an efficacy of 100%. And not only has it been shown to be so effective, it has also been well tolerated, with few side effects. This is rare for vaccines such as this one that contain a live virus, and it's something to be thankful for.

Ebola vaccine trial proves 100% successful in Guinea

It is in fact incredibly unusual for any vaccine to show such efficacy, and so swiftly, too. For comparison, not long ago the results of trials for new malaria and dengue fever vaccines showed just how challenging development is. While they were promising, their effectiveness was much more limited

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