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An Ebola vaccine has been found to be safe and effective for children and adults in a clinical trial, producing an immune response against the deadly disease, say scientists including one of Indian origin. The worst Ebola virus disease outbreak in history ended in 2016 after infecting 28,600 people and killing about 11,300 worldwide.
It led to urgent action by medical experts across the world to combat this devastating disease; including the setting up of trials of vaccines to stop the disease taking hold. This global commitment to develop a vaccine against the disease suggested eight options, out of a starting pool of 15 candidates, should be evaluated in clinical trials worldwide by the end of 2015.
"An unprecedented Ebola outbreak showed how it is possible for academics, non-governmental organisations, industry and funders to work effectively together very quickly in times of medical crisis," said Sanjeev Krishna, of St George's University of London in the UK. "The results of the trial show how a vaccine could best be used to tackle this terrible disease effectively,"
Krishna said. Considering the persistent replication of the vaccine in children and adolescents, further studies investigating lower doses in this population are warranted. The vaccine contains a non-infectious portion of a gene from the Zaire Ebola virus. In addition, lower vaccine doses should be considered when boosting individuals with pre-existing antibodies to Ebola virus glycoprotein, a finding that has emerged after the vaccine was tested in a country that has experienced Ebolavirus outbreaks in the past.
The vaccine was one of two being examined as a 'candidate' option by the World Health Organization (WHO) to identify urgently a vaccine to combat the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa.