An experimental Ebola vaccine tested on humans in Europe and Africa sparks the production of the antibodies needed to neutralize the deadly virus, a Geneva hospital said Wednesday.
There is no licensed treatment or vaccine for Ebola, and the World Health Organization last year endorsed rushing potential ones through trials in a bid to stem the epidemic still simmering in West Africa.
Initial clinical trials of the VSV-ZEBOV candidate vaccine, manufactured by the Public Health Agency of Canada and developed by Merck, show that it “triggers the production of antibodies capable of neutralizing the Ebola virus,” the Geneva University Hospitals (HUG) said in a statement.
A study of the phase 1 clinical trials on 158 volunteers in Switzerland, Germany, Gabon and Kenya, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, also showed that the even small amounts of the vaccine could be effective. The phase 1 trials are aimed at testing for safety.
The study compared the doses tested by the various teams, ranging from 300,000 to 50 million vaccine particles, and found that “even low doses of this experimental vaccine are able to trigger the production of antibodies against the Ebola virus.”
Follow-up analysis six and 12 months after the volunteers took the shot should determine “whether a single injection is enough to induce a lasting immune response” or if booster injections would be needed, HUG said.