A remarkable trial of a new Ebola vaccine has shown to be 100% successful in trials conducted in Guinea.
Using a groundbreaking new tactic, experts were able to develop and test a vaccine in just 12 months – a process that normally takes 10 years.
“This new vaccine, if the results hold up, may be the silver bullet against Ebola, helping to bring the current outbreak to zero and to control future outbreaks of this kind,” said Borge Brende, the foreign minister of Norway, which helped fund the trial.
You can view the official announcement from the World Health Organization below.
Almost 11, 300 people in West Africa have died from this most recent Ebola outbreak, and nearly 27, 800 people have been infected. The effects of the outbreak have devastated communities in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone
The epidemic has started to come to an end though, with only seven new cases as of July 26. But the diminishing number of cases is what forced researchers to design a new kind of trial.
The Ring Approach
Typically, the best approach for testing a new vaccine is to vaccinate 50% of an at-risk population with the vaccine and give the other 50% a placebo.
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This time, though, researchers “used a ‘ring’ design, similar to that which helped prove the smallpox vaccine worked in the 1970s,” reported The Guardian.
When someone got sick, researchers vaccinated all the people the person was regularly in contact with and who were willing to test the vaccine (excluding pregnant women and children). This creates a ring of test subjects who have a high risk of contracting and spreading the disease.
Researchers randomly assigned each new cluster outbreak to receive the vaccine immediately or three weeks after someone was infected. According to the results published in The Lancet, none of the 2,014 people vaccinated immediately contracted Ebola. Of the people vaccinated three weeks later, only 16 out of 2,380 contracted the disease.
With such positive results, despite the small test pool, the trial is set to continue without randomization. Researchers have also confirmed that the vaccine is safe for children and adolescents.