The end of the Ebola virus seems to be at hand. After series of tests, final test results confirm that an experimental Ebola vaccine is highly effective in combating the virus. This is a huge success that would go in a long way in curbing the spread of epidemics like the last one that occurred in West Africa.
Over the years, there has been struggle in the area of developing an Ebola vaccine and this is the very first that has been confirmed to work. Efforts were intensified especially after the most recent outbreak that claimed about 11,300 lives.
Results of this study was published on Thursday. The paper published mostly confirms what was already known from interim studies last year. From those studies, the vaccine proved so effective that the study was temporarily stopped to immunise all that was exposed to the virus in Guinea. So again, the recently published study basically confirms previous test results.
“I really believe that now we have a tool which would allow (us) to control a new outbreak of Ebola of the Zaire strain,” stated the study’s lead author, Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny, a WHO assistant director-general. She also said that it is the first vaccine whose efficacy has been shown. Dr. Marie-Paule also noted that there are other Ebola vaccines undergoing testing and a vaccine is also needed against a second strain, Sudan.
The study of this vaccine was led by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and developed by the Canadian government. The vaccine is now licensed to the US-based Merck & co. and they are expected to seek regulatory approval next year in Europe and the United States.
This is a laudable milestone as previous vaccine attempts have failed since the virus turned up in Africa in 1976. We look forward to greater achievements even in this field as we approach the new year.