Experimental Ebola vaccine effective in monkeys: study

An experimental Ebola vaccine has been shown to effectively protect monkeys against the often-deadly virus, according to a study published Thursday.

The new medicine, described in the journal Science, is what is known as a “whole virus” vaccine.

This means it is based on a non-active form of the entire virus instead of just fragments, and is more likely to trigger a broad immune response.

“The new vaccine differs from other Ebola vaccines,” a statement from the University of Wisconsin-Madison read. “As an inactivated whole virus vaccine, it primes the host immune system with the full complement of Ebola viral proteins and genes, potentially conferring greater protection.”

The vaccine was constructed on an experimental platform that lets researchers safely work with the virus by deleting a key gene the Ebola virus needs to make a protein required to reproduce. The Ebola virus has only eight genes.

“In terms of efficacy, this affords excellent protection,” said study author Yoshihiro Kawaoka, a University of Wisconsin-Madison virus expert. “It is also a very safe vaccine.”

Successful tests were carried out on macaques at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Rocky Mountain Laboratories, a top biosafety facility in Montana.

Whole virus vaccines have successfully prevented serious diseases such as polio, influenza and hepatitis, the statement read.

Macaques are very susceptible to Ebola and Kawaoka noted that, “if you get protection with (these animals), it’s working.”

The current Ebola epidemic is the most serious since the virus emerged in 1976 in Sudan and Zaire.

There is no licensed vaccine against the disease which has killed more than 10,000 people in west Africa out of nearly 25,000 infected since the start of 2014, mainly in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

Several promising treatments are being fast-tracked through the normally years-long trial process.

Two possible vaccines currently being developed — CAd3 by Britain’s GlaxoSmithKline and VSV-EBOV by Merck and NewLink Genetics — have both passed safety tests on humans.

Photo Credits : AFP

Ebola vaccine tested in Kilifi

The Kenya Medical Research Institute has begun an Ebola vaccine trial in Kilifi.

The first dose of the VSV Ebola vaccine was administered to a health worker on Wednesday at the Kilifi County Hospital.

In a statement, Kemri said the Phase 1 trials are part of a World Health Organisation-led consortium funded by the Wellcome Trust.

The trials target health workers due to their first-line contact with Ebola patients.

“The trials, and other trials in the USA, Germany, Switzerland and Gabon, will test the vaccine’s safety and its ability to generate an immune system response in healthy adults,” Kemri said.

“The vaccine is administered as a single dose after which the participants will be monitored closely. Early trial results will be provided in February.”

The VSV Ebola vaccine was made by combining the Vesicular Stomatitis Virus with a portion of a single protein covering the Ebola virus.

It can generate an immune response to Ebola but since it only contains an isolated component of part of the Ebola virus it cannot cause a vaccinated person to become infected with or to test positive for the virus.

Meanwhile, Kemri has said ASMQ (artesunate mefloquine) fixed dose combination (FDC) has proven safe and efficacious in treating children with uncomplicated P falciparum malaria in Africa, and is non?inferior to artemethen lumefantrine.

The institute said the results of a large clinical trial conducted in three countries in East and West Africa by DNDi proved that ASMQ is safe.

The trial was in partnership with the Central National de Recherche et de Formation sur le Paludisme in Burkina Faso, the National Institute for Medical Research, and the Ifakara Health Institute in Tanzania

“ASMQ FDC is recommended and prequalified by the WHO. It is given once a day for three days, and this is important in improving patient compliance to treatment.”

– See more at: http://www.the-star.co.ke/news/ebola-vaccine-tested-kilifi#sthash.gHwPqnX0.dpuf

Catholic bishops urge Kenyans to boycott the Tetanus vaccine

The Kenya Conference of Catholic bishops are calling on all Kenyans to boycott the controversial tetanus vaccine being undertaken in 60 sub counties.

The bishops told the parliamentary health committee that the process is intended to control the population in the country saying original tests of the vaccine contains a hormone that brings infertility to women.

According to the catholic bishops the ministry of health has not tested the vaccine. They called on the government to prioritize human dignity and stop the process.

South Africa to test Thai HIV vaccine

South Africa is one step closer to testing a vaccine for HIV after a local trial of the world’s only partially effective Aids jab showed it was safe to use on locals.

Professor Glenda Gray, head of the South African Medical Research Council, announced this at the HIV Research for Prevention conference in Cape Town yesterday.

After 30 years of trying to find a vaccine for HIV, scientists announced success in 2009. The vaccine, named R144, tested in Thailand, had offered people who received it almost 60% protection from the virus for the first year.

After three years, recipients of the vaccine were 31% less likely to get the virus.

Scientists wanted to test the vaccine in South Africa because even 30% to 40% protection against HIV would reduce the rate of new infections, said Gray.


Experimental Ebola vaccine expected in Geneva from Tuesday

Canada will start sending more than 1,000 doses of an experimental Ebola vaccine to Switzerland this week as part of the global fight against the deadly virus, a Geneva hospital said Sunday.

Trials of the vaccine on humans are expected to begin in Switzerland at the end of October or early next month, it said.

Canada said in August it would give the Geneva-based World Health Organization 800 vials — each believed to contain about two doses — of the VSV-EBOV vaccine developed at the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg.

The UN health agency has identified two experimental vaccines that have shown promising results when tested on monkeys: The Canadian VSV-EBOV, licenced by US firm NewLink Genetics, and one made by British company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).

Read more: http://www.timeslive.co.za/world/2014/10/19/experimental-ebola-vaccine-expected-in-geneva-from-tuesday-hospital