HealthDay News — A new two-step Ebola vaccine strategy has shown some promise in early clinical trials, according to research published in the April 19 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The trials involved two candidate Ebola vaccines that were given to volunteers in separate injections, the researchers said. One vaccine was provided first as a primer, and the second was given as a booster.

The effective combination was a primer of a genetically engineered cold virus (Ad26.ZEBOV), followed by a booster of a similarly altered smallpox virus (MVA-BN-Filo), according to the report. In both cases, the viruses had been altered to include genetic material from Ebola, so any immune response to the vaccine could theoretically promote immunity to Ebola, the study authors explained.

An immune response was observed after primary immunization with the Ad26.ZEBOV vaccine, and boosting with the MVA-BN-Filo resulted in sustained elevation of specific immunity to Ebola, the researchers found. Further, neither vaccine caused any serious adverse events in the 87 people, aged 18 to 50, who volunteered for the phase 1 clinical trial.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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