Ebola Vaccine? The Latest Information

A WHO (World Health Organization) conference held on the 29th and 30th of September brought together 70 top experts from around the world to discuss the progress in developing Ebola treatments.

As a result of the findings, two promising vaccines are being tested and pushed forward as fast as possible, rushing the development process.

There is simply no good treatment for Ebola but what the world really needs is a vaccine which would help eradicate the disease completely.

Although the two people brought to Atlanta for treatment and given the experimental ZMapp were both cured and walked out of the hospital, one of the two since became very ill from apparently unrelated causes.

Unfortunately, the cure of two individuals used up the ENTIRE world supply of that promising Ebola medicine, AND ZMapp may not actually have been the reason they were cured; supportive efforts may have contributed as much to their survival by giving their bodies enough time to fight the infection.

Ebola is a hemorrhagic fever with symptoms similar to that of extreme radiation exposure. Hemorrhagic refers to blood and a hemorrhagic disease is one which essentially breaks down the blood vessels and blood leaks into the body, lungs, and intestines.

Since Ebola is a virus, there is simply no good treatment for it and the patient must defeat it with his or her own immune system.

To keep patients alive long enough for this to occur, you must give them oxygen and a lot of intravenous fluids.

That isn’t easy even in a developed country but in rural Africa it is virtually impossible, which explains why 100 percent of the patients in the U.S. survived and only 10 percent of those treated in Africa survive.

As of October 1, the WHO had completed a survey of potential Ebola vaccines.

Candidate Vaccines

According to the results of the WHO conference, there are two promising candidate vaccines.

“Two candidate vaccines have clinical-grade vials available for phase 1 pre-licensure clinical trials.”

GlaxoSmithKline in collaboration with the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has developed (cAd3-ZEBOV) using chimpanzee-derived adenovirus into which an Ebola virus gene has been added.

A second potential vaccine, (rVSV-ZEBOV), developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada and owned by an American company, the NewLink Genetics company, uses an attenuated or weakened vesicular stomatitis virus, a pathogen found in livestock; again, one of its genes has been replaced by Ebola virus genetic material.

An adenovirus is a kind of virus without any protective coat and which is responsible for about 1 in 10 cases of serious respiratory infections in children.

A stomatitis virus is simply a virus which causes inflammation of mucous membranes of the mouth. It is not a specific kind of virus but rather a class of diseases, some of which are caused by some viruses.

What you need to know is that there are only two promising vaccines which might protect people against Ebola and both are being given a rush priority for development and testing.

Are They Safe?

Trials are being conducted in healthy human volunteers to determine first of all whether the vaccines are safe and also to determine the appropriate dosage to produce a blood level of the antibodies thought sufficient to protect against Ebola, IF it is effective at all – that is determined after it is found to be safe enough to take.

Unlike a treatment given as a last ditch effort to someone who is already dying of the disease, where safety is a minor concern, a vaccine is given to healthy people and therefore must be extremely (although not completely 100%) safe.

It is important to know that the sort of testing and development being done in a few months would normally take years and even after the first phase of testing we will only know if the vaccines are safe to give healthy humans, it won’t be until that testing is completed that any human tests where vaccinated individuals are exposed to live Ebola virus will take place and we have any idea of either vaccine is effective in protecting people.

Even if successful, there are major challenges in delivering the medicine to people in Africa, not least of which is the fact hat both must be stored at minus 80 degrees C., far below freezing, and that can be extremely difficult in tropical third-world environments.

The following are the steps involved and possible timeline:

Key expected milestones according to the WHO study

October 2014: phase 1 trials must be started

October-November 2014: testing protocols (including those for phase 2 studies) must be developed

October-November 2014: sites in affected countries for phase 2 b studies should start

November-December 2014: safety data from phase 1 trials will be known

January 2015: Good Manufacturing Practices vaccine doses will be available for phase 2 tests. (That means mass-produced quantities using standard factory procedures rather than laboratory processes handled by trained scientists.)

January-February 2015: phase 2 studies approved and begun in affected and non-affected countries

You can find the latest information on drugs to treat Ebola at

the DCD Website

Here is the situation as of early October, according to the CDC.

“No FDA-approved vaccine or medicine (that is, an antiviral drug) is available for Ebola.

Symptoms of Ebola are treated as they appear. The following basic interventions, when used early, can significantly improve the chances of survival:

Providing intravenous fluids (IV) and balancing electrolytes (body salts)

Maintaining oxygen status and blood pressure

Treating other infections if they occur

Experimental vaccines and treatments for Ebola are under development, but they have not yet been fully tested for safety or effectiveness.”

Currently the only treatment is supportive care which is done both to keep the patient comfortable and to give their own immune system time to develop defenses.

WHO, “People who recover from Ebola infection develop antibodies that last for at least 10 years, possibly longer. It isn’t known if people who recover are immune for life or if they can become infected with a different species of Ebola. Some people who have recovered from Ebola have developed long-term complications, such as joint and vision problems.”

Q&A on experimental treatments

Q&A on the West Africa Outbreak

Ebola Coverage On Kindle

I will have extensive coverage of Ebola in my new Kindle book covering what is known about the disease and what we need to do to protect ourselves and loved ones.


It should be published in about 10 hours.