An experimental Ebola vaccine appears to give monkeys full protection against the virus for at least five weeks, according to research published Sunday. When boosted with another vaccine, the monkeys were apparently protected for 10 months, according to a study that give hope to a possible solution to the virus that has ravaged West Africa, killing more than 2,000 people. The National Institutes of Health have begun human trials of the vaccine this week. “The study, published in Nature Medicine, is the first to report that a vaccine regimen produced ‘durable immunity’ against Ebola, protecting four out of four monkeys for 10 months,” reports Reuters.
The vaccine in question is similar to the one being developed by GlaxoSmithKline. At least two other firms are working on their own vaccines, although they are not as far along, notes Bloomberg. Around 10 drugs are also being tested as possible cures.
“The good part of this vaccine is that at five weeks or earlier you get full protection,” Dr Anthony Fauci, the director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told the BBC. “The sobering news is the durability isn’t great, but if you give a boost, a second shot, you make it really durable.” As encouraging as the study is, it is by no means a guarantee that the vaccine would work in an outbreak, points out the Associated Press.