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Biological Chemistry

Needle-Free Ebola Vaccine Tested

Safer to administer, new agent gives long-term protection to macaques; human testing may be next

by Stu Borman
November 17, 2014 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 92, Issue 46

A candidate Ebola vaccine that would be inhaled has been found to offer long-term protection to nonhuman primates. Such an agent could lead to a human vaccine that protects people from Ebola outbreaks, like the ongoing one in Africa. In addition, the vaccine could be administered more safely than the two other current Ebola vaccine candidates, injectable agents whose administration can inadvertently expose health professionals to patient blood. The new candidate was developed and tested by Maria A. Croyle of the University of Texas, Austin, and coworkers (Mol. Pharmaceutics 2014, DOI: 10.1021/mp500646d). They gave the adenovirus-based vaccine to three macaques in an inhalable format, along with an agent previously shown to boost immune responses in rodents. The animals produced significant amounts of anti-Ebola T cells and antibodies and successfully resisted getting infected from exposure to Ebola virus over a testing period of five months. “To our knowledge, this is the first evaluation of a needle-free Ebola vaccine in primates and one of the first to demonstrate long-term protection from lethal infection,” the researchers note.


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