Study: Ebola Vaccine May Fall Short

Friday, January 30, 2015

One of the Ebola vaccines about to enter testing in Liberia may not be as potent as researchers had hoped, according to a new study, raising questions about how well it will prevent infection.

The vaccine, developed by GlaxoSmithKline, is one of two in a large-scale clinical trial expected to begin in the next two weeks. Merck produced the other vaccine.

Earlier studies had found that one dose of the GSK vaccine would protect monkeys from Ebola.

However, in the study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, “What we see are immune responses that are several-fold lower than were seen in those monkey studies,” said study co-author Adrian Hill, director of the Jenner Institute at the University of Oxford.

“That raises the question, will it work as well in people as in monkeys? The short answer is we don’t know,” he added, “but that’s exactly the question the trials in Liberia and elsewhere are designed to address.”

The trial in Liberia will use a higher dose of the vaccine. A study of a related vaccine published in November found patients given a higher dose developed a stronger immune response. Monkeys with a comparable response were protected from infection.

Source: Voice of America (link opens in a new window)

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