Healthcare Workers Likely First Recipients Of Ebola Vaccine

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Written by Dana Sanchez

Healthcare workers on the front line of the fight against Ebola will likely be the first to receive protection if experimental clinical trials lead to an effective vaccine, CNN reports.

The first human trial of an experimental Ebola vaccine produced promising results, U.S. scientists said, raising hopes that protection may be near at hand.

The New England Journal of Medicine said the initial human trials of the experimental
Ebola vaccine were an unqualified success, according to a CNN video.

All 20 healthy adults produced an immune response and developed anti-Ebola antibodies after receiving the vaccine in a trial run by researchers from the National Institutes of Health in Maryland, CNN reports.

The vaccine is being developed by British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline and the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The process was fast-tracked in light of the current catastrophic Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

But the trials are far from over. There are still questions about long-term protection.

Professor Andrew Easton, a leading virologist at Britain’s Warwick University, told CNN that “…the vaccine don’t last as long as we would like. There was a clear reduction over a fairly long period of time, about 10 months,” he said. “So it’s possible that that might be a problem in humans…We can hope that it will provide a longer-term protection. If it doesn’t, at least it gives us some level of protection over a window, which could be enormously valuable in protecting people from outbreaks at the time the outbreaks occur.”

GlaxoSmithKline said they could have up to 1 million doses ready to go by the end of 2015, CNN reports. In West Africa the need is growing.

None of the 20 human subjects in the experimental vaccine trial suffered serious side effects, although two developed a fever within a day of vaccination.

The virus has been deadly for nurses and healthcare givers of Ebola patients, with 592 health careworkers known to have been infected, including 340 who died, according to World Health Organization, CNN reports.

In an update Wednesday, WHO said 5,689 people have died from Ebola as of Nov. 23.
There have been 15,935 cases in eight countries. Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone — the worst affected — reported 600 new cases in the week ending Sunday, with 385 of those in Sierra Leone.