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Early Results from Ebola Trial are Promising

Update Date: Nov 27, 2014 10:30 AM EST

The results from an early Ebola vaccine trial are promising, a new study reported. According to the researchers with the National Health Institute (NIH), all of the volunteers had signs of immune protection after being vaccinated.

The trial recruited 20 participants between the ages of 18 and 50 who received the experimental vaccine at the NIH. 10 of them were given a higher dose of the vaccine. Within about four weeks, the researchers found that all of the participants' immune systems produced antibodies against the Ebola virus. The group that received the higher dose had more antibodies than the other group.

The researchers added that some of the participants ended up developing another group of immune cells, known as T cells that can help fend off an infection. Even though the researchers did not determine if the T cells could effectively ward off Ebola, they concluded that the virus' ability to trigger both immune responses is "a promising factor," the director of the NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci said, reported by the Washington Post.

"All in all, one can say this is a successful vaccine, from the standpoint of phase I," Dr. Fauci said according to HealthDay. "Now the critical question is, will it work?"

Two of the participants who were from the higher dose group had short fevers that resolved within a day. There were no other serious side effects. The experimental vaccine was created by the NIH's Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and GlaxoSmithKline.

"The results of the vaccine trial are promising and show that this particular vaccine is able to induce protective levels of immunity," added Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior associate with the Center for Health Security at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. "The trial also begins to provide a basis for selecting the optimal dose needed to achieve protection against Ebola."

"The road is still long and there are many challenges but we are nevertheless one step closer to a solution," Dr. Daniel Bausch, an Ebola specialist from Tulane University, commented. Dr. Bausch was not involved with the trial.

The study, "Chimpanzee Adenovirus Vector Ebola Vaccine - Preliminary Report," was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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