Ebola vaccine is 'potential game-changer'
July 31, 2015
By James Gallagher *
‘Promising’The WHO says it is so far 100% effective, although that figure may change as more data is collected. Close contacts of Ebola patients in Guinea will now be vaccinated immediately. And since the vaccine has been shown to be safe, that process will also be extended to include children. Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) is involved with this research, and is part of a parallel trial for frontline healthcare workers. Medical director Bertrand Draguez said the Lancet results should spur instant action. “With such high efficacy, all affected countries should immediately start and multiply ring vaccinations to break chains of transmission and vaccinate all frontline workers to protect them.” Marie-Paule Kieny, an assistant director general at the WHO told BBC News: “It is certainly promising. We have seen that where rings have been vaccinated, the transmission has stopped. “Prior to vaccination there were cases, cases, cases. The vaccine arrives and 10 days later the cases are flat. “It could be a game-changer because previously there was nothing, despite the disease being identified 40 years ago. “When there is a new outbreak this vaccine will be put to use to stop the outbreak as soon as possible to not have the terrible disaster we have now.” More than 11,000 people have died from Ebola and nearly 28,000 have been infected. The sheer scale of the 2014-15 outbreak led to an unprecedented push on vaccines – and a decade’s work has been condensed into around 10 months. The number of cases has fallen – and in the week up to July 26th 2015 there were just four cases in Guinea and three in Sierra Leone. Prof John Edmunds, from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, helped design the trial: “The development has been at an absolutely unprecedented speed. “This is very good news, these are very significant results, the epidemic is not over and this shows we have another potential weapon. “The trial is still continuing, these are interim results which need confirming, but there’s now light at the end of the tunnel.” Dr Jeremy Farrar, the director of the Wellcome Trust medical charity, said this was a “remarkable result” and was the product of international collaboration. He added: “Our hope is that this vaccine will now help bring this epidemic to an end and be available for the inevitable future Ebola epidemics.” *Source BBC ]]>
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