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WEDNESDAY, April 8, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- A quick-acting, single-dose Ebola vaccine is safe and effective in nonhuman primates, and may lead to a new human vaccine, U.S. researchers reported Wednesday.
The experimental vaccine is effective against the West African Makona strain of Ebola Zaire virus, which to date has infected more than 25,000 people -- killing nearly 10,600 -- in the ongoing outbreak in Africa.
The vaccine uses a harmless virus that has a part of the Ebola virus inserted into it. In nonhuman primates, the vaccine triggered an immune response against Ebola, according to the study published April 8 in the journal Nature.
"These findings may pave the way for the identification and manufacture of safer, single-dose, high-efficiency vaccines to combat current and future Ebola outbreaks," Thomas Geisbert, a professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, said in a university news release.
"We are excited at the possibility of helping develop a way to stop this deadly disease. We have a lot more work to accomplish but it's important to note that this is a big step," he added.
With a growing population in West Africa, there will be increased contact between people and Ebola virus hosts such as bats, potentially leading to other large outbreaks, the researchers said.
While efforts to develop new vaccines may not be helpful in the current Ebola outbreak, they could prove important in fighting future outbreaks.
In addition, it should be noted that animal research findings do not always translate to humans.
-- Robert Preidt
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SOURCE: University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, news release, April 8, 2015