New research suggests that a novel Ebola vaccine is safe and provokes an immune response in recipients in the first Phase 1 trial of an Ebola vaccine developed based on the 2014 Zaire Guinea Ebola strain, The results have been published in The Lancet.

This trial was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study led by Professor Fengcai Zhu and fellow researchers, from the Jiangsu provincial Center for Disease Prevention and Control in China. The team tested the safety and immunogenicity of a novel Ebola vaccine, based on the 2014 Zaire Guinea Ebola strain. Until recently, all tested Ebola virus vaccines have been developed based on the virus strain from the Zaire outbreak in 1976. Healthy Chinese adults (n=120) were randomly assigned in equal numbers to receive placebo, a low dose type 5 vector based Ebola vaccine, or high dose of the vaccine. The primary safety endpoint was occurrence of solicited adverse reactions within seven days of vaccination. The primary immunogenicity endpoints were glycoprotein-specific antibody titres and T-cell responses at day 28 after the vaccination.

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Twenty eight days after vaccination, 38 out of 40 participants in the low-dose group and all 40 of those in the high-dose group had a positive immune response to the vaccine, with participants in the high-dose group producing higher quantities of antibodies than those in the low-dose group. No specific immune response was recorded in the placebo group. The results suggest that the new vaccine is safe, and provokes an immune response in recipients. However, further long-term testing will be needed to establish whether it can protect against the Ebola virus.

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