Finally, a vaccine for the feared Ebola virus has been successfully created.
The Lancet recently published an online report that shows an injection that can provide 100% protection against the lethal virus. An extensive study was conducted before the announcement was made and it confirmed that subjects were protected from Ebola 10 days after receiving the shot.
Produced by Merck, the vaccine is being hailed as the solution to end the current 18-month-old Ebola epidemic in West Africa.
Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research, showed great enthusiasm about the revolutionary product. He said:
“This will go down in history as one of those hallmark public health efforts. We will teach about this in public health schools.”
Vaccine researcher Adrian Hill of United Kingdom’s University of Oxford is also very positive about it. According to him:
“It’s a wonderful result and a fantastic illustration of how vaccines can be developed very quickly and can be used in an outbreak situation to control the disease.”
Ana Maria Henao-Restrepo of the World Health Organization led the study of the Merck-produced super vaccine. She worked closely with other health experts from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, the Guinean Ministry of Health, and more.
With new cases of Ebola being recorded each week in West Africa (most recently from Guinea and Sierra Leone), the vaccine is expected to be a huge game changer that will save a lot of lives. The vaccine contains Vesicular Stomatitis Virus (VSV) and Ebola surface protein.
Margaret Chan, director-general of WHO, described the development as “exciting” but added further studies will be necessary. In her own words, the vaccine could possibly “change the management of the current Ebola outbreak and future outbreaks.”
Let’s all hope future studies will likewise yield positive results so more people can benefit from this breakthrough vaccine.