"100%" effective Ebola vaccine is nearly here
Today, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that we are on the "verge of an effective Ebola vaccine." A Phase III efficacy trial in Guinea has shown the Canadian government developed VSV-EBOL vaccine is "100% [effective] in individuals."
Of the over 2,000 close contacts to infected individuals who voluntarily took the vaccine, none developed Ebola. In another trial, the vaccine was administered after 10 days, and of the over 2,000 vaccinated, just 16 developed the disease. Doctors are using “ring vaccination”, the technique used to wipe out smallpox, to disseminate the vaccine. Those closest to the infected are vaccinated first, followed by people in contact with those people, moving outwards.
Facts about Ebola:
Ebola is a deadly viral hemorrhagic fever that started an ongoing epidemic last year, killing tens of thousands in West Africa. It captured the imagination of the media because of the gruesome way it kills. The virus causes bleeding and organ damage by overwhelming the body's ability to clot. This causes bleeding that won't stop and organ damage as tissue dies without blood.
Fatality rates for those who catch Ebola can be over 70%. The virus spreads via infected bodily fluids. Tragically, caretakers like doctors, nurses, and foreign aid workers catch the virus that way and this worsens the public health care crisis.
The vaccine, VSV-EBOL, is a genetically engineered mix of the animal virus, Vesicular Stomatitis Virus (VSV) that been engineered to "look" like Ebola to our immune system. It was developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada with support from the US Defence Department. The vaccination development and trial was a “coordinated effort of many international agencies” who came together to stop this deadly disease.