An experimental Ebola vaccine appeared to be safe and effective in clinical trials, a U.S. Army research lab announced Wednesday. The vaccine worked fast and strong enough that an Army official from the lab said it could be deployed to future Ebola hotspots on short notice to quickly defuse outbreaks.
The announcement comes after months of trials that began in October in Africa. Researchers at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, or NIAID, performed two independent studies involving 52 volunteers, 28 of whom received the test vaccine while the rest received a placebo. Within two weeks, 93 percent of the vaccinated group showed the antibody response for which the researchers were hoping, meaning that their bodies had developed the capacity to fight off an Ebola infection. All of the vaccinated volunteers showed the response within a month.
“We saw a robust immune response following a single dose of the vaccine, which could be particularly useful in outbreak interventions,” said Army Col. Stephen Thomas, senior author on the paper and the research institute’s deputy commander, in a press release.