Study: GSK Ebola vaccine effective, requires booster shot
- A study published in the journal Nature Medicine on Sunday finds that the experimental Ebola vaccine being manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline and the U.S. National Institutes for Health (NIH) protected all vaccinated monkeys after they were infected with high doses of the virus five weeks after inoculation.
- The study also found that vaccine's efficacy wanes over time and requires the use of a booster shot that is a modified version of the vaccine that uses a poxvirus; just half of the monkeys exposed to Ebola 10 months after vaccination (but without a booster) were protected, while all monkeys given the vaccine plus booster remained immune after the same time period.
- Early human testing of GSK's vaccine has already begun in the U.S. The experimental treatment received FDA approval for phase I human trials at the end of August.
As the unprecedented Ebola epidemic in West Africa threatens to spiral out of control, the race is on for effective treatments and vaccines. Armed with the latest monkey trial results, GSK says that it plans to make as many as 10,000 doses of Ebola vaccine to distribute to health workers and aid organizations in the afflicted regions.
On the treatment side, Mapp Biopharmaceutical's ZMapp also recently yielded "monumental" results in monkey trials, saving all 18 Ebola-infected monkeys that were given the drug. President Barack Obama announced in an interview on Sunday that U.S. military forces will provide Africa with equipment, resources, and protection for health workers in response to the crisis.