Newly Developed Ebola Vaccine Can Provide 100 Percent Protection Against Virus?
Many have been alarmed when Ebola struck West Africa a few years ago. To make matters worse, there was no cure and vaccine which resulted to 11,000 deaths. The infected population grew to nearly 30,000. Fortunately, a development in science has made the epidemic impossible to happen again.
A newly developed vaccine against was discovered Ebola: a vaccine that can bring its end, scientists report Thursday in The Lancet. "We were able to estimate the efficacy of the vaccine as being 100 percent in a trial," says Ira Longini, a biostatistician at the University of Florida, who helped test the vaccine. "It's very unusual to have a vaccine that protects people perfectly."
However, the efficacy of the vaccine is clearly high but not 100 percent. That value reflects the fact that the vaccine has not yet been tested on an enough number people. This means it is likely to decrease as the vaccine is used over time. In the end, the efficacy is likely to sit somewhere between about 70 percent and 100 percent, Longini says.
That is a significant progress given the fact that the flu vaccine last year was about 50 percent effective, according to The Washington Post. On the other hand, Ebola vaccine works within four or five days, he says. With the speedy effect, it can be injected to a person who has been exposed to Ebola but has not yet developed the disease.
The initial testing of the vaccine was conducted on about 4,000 people in Guinea back in 2015, when Ebola was still spreading. These people were at high risk of getting Ebola because they had contact with someone who was infected. Those who got the vaccine right away were completely protected and did not develop the sickness, according to NPR.
The vaccine - called rVSV-ZEBOV - however, has not yet been approved yet by either the World Health Organization or the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It is expected to be approved in 2018. The vaccine offers short-term protection during outbreaks. For this reason, GAVI - the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization - expenses have reached $5 million to help finish the development of the vaccine and to stockpile it.
"So we have made 300,000 doses available, as of earlier this year, if there was to be sort of any resurgence or any kind of emergency," says Swati Gupta at Merck, which is manufacturing the shot.