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Promising Ebola Vaccine Cuts Mortality Rates in Half: New Study Reveals

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Dr. Jessica Nelson
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Promising Ebola Vaccine Cuts Mortality Rates in Half: New Study Reveals

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In an encouraging development in the fight against Ebola, a new study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases reveals that the rVSVΔG-ZEBOV-GP vaccine, also known as Ervebo, can cut Ebola mortality rates in half. The vaccine has shown significant efficacy in reducing the risk of infection and preventing death in those who are vaccinated after becoming infected during an epidemic.

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Study Focused on the Democratic Republic of Congo

The study focused on the second-largest Ebola outbreak, which took place in the Democratic Republic of Congo between 2018 and 2020. Researchers found that among the unvaccinated, the mortality rate was a staggering 56%. In contrast, for those who had received the rVSVΔG-ZEBOV-GP vaccine, the mortality rate was effectively halved.

Vaccine Reduces Virus Circulation

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Beyond reducing mortality rates, the vaccine also reduced the amount of virus circulating in the bodies of those who had been vaccinated. This is a crucial finding as it indicates that the vaccine could potentially reduce the spread of Ebola during an epidemic.

Importance of Early Vaccination

The results of the study underline the importance of early vaccination against Ebola, especially for populations at risk of exposure to the virus. Even when the vaccine is administered after exposure, it still offers significant protection against the fatal disease.

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Vaccination and Treatment Timing

Another crucial finding from the study is the role of timing in vaccination and treatment. The greatest reduction in mortality occurred among those who were both vaccinated and received a therapeutic, such as the monoclonal antibody mAB114 or the monoclonal combination REGN-EB3. These findings further emphasize the importance of early intervention and treatment in managing Ebola.

Ervebo: A Promising Vaccine

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Ervebo (rVSVΔG-ZEBOV-GP) is a live recombinant replication competent vaccine that has been approved by the FDA for individuals 12 months of age and older. The vaccine is highly effective against Zaire ebolavirus, the strain responsible for the majority of Ebola outbreaks, although it does not provide cross protection against other Ebola species. So far, over 500,000 doses of the licensed vaccine have been delivered to the stockpile administered by the International Coordinating Group on Vaccine Provision. However, the duration of protection conferred by Ervebo remains unknown and is a subject for further research.

Looking Ahead

These findings bring a ray of hope in the fight against Ebola, a disease that has claimed thousands of lives in recurring outbreaks. They offer clear evidence that people at risk of contracting Ebola should be vaccinated as early as possible. The rVSVΔG-ZEBOV-GP vaccine holds the promise of cutting chains of transmission and curbing Ebola outbreaks, offering a crucial tool in global efforts to combat this deadly virus.

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