Researchers, doctors and politicians across the globe have been working to put an end to the Ebola outbreak that ravaged West Africa and killed almost 10,000 people in 2014. As scientists attempted to discover the best preventative option, certain vaccine candidates came to the forefront.
The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and Profectus BioSciences, Inc. have since developed a vaccine that tackles Ebola Zaire, which is the West African Makona strain of the virus. There are five species of Ebola that have been identified, and the Zaire strain is credited with causing the 2014 outbreak.
The vaccine embeds the Ebola Zaire species within vesicular stomatitis, which is a form of the rabies virus that is not harmful to humans. The “Trojan horse” method allows the virus to enter into the body in a small dose so it can work toward creating a plan to fight it. The vaccine successfully caused a positive immune response when tested in a primate.
The vaccine is meant to be highly efficient and easily administered with a single dose. However, researchers are going a step further to solidify the safety of the vaccine. In addition to the original first-generation candidate, the team has developed two vaccines with weakened forms of the virus.
Contact between humans and nonhuman hosts with the Ebola Zaire virus, such as bats, will continue to rise. The development and distribution of an effective vaccine is a top priority. The candidates are currently under evaluation.
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