Ebola Vaccine First Large-scale Trial In Liberia

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Ebola Vaccine First Large Scale Trial In Liberia
2 Feb. 2015 Monrovia, Liberia A health worker injects a woman with an Ebola vaccine during a trial in Monrovia, February 2, 2015. reuters.com

The first large-scale trial of ebola virus vaccination started on Monday, Feb 2, with scientists vaccinating 12 volunteers in Liberia. Ebola vaccination program is aimed at immunising 30,000 volunteers in West Africa against the highly contagious ebola virus infection.

Two vaccines developed by two different companies are used in the vaccination program. These vaccines are expected to trigger the immune system of the human body against Ebola virus as soon as the virus enters the body. Since the vaccines are under trial, scientists are not still very sure if the vaccine would offer complete protection to people against the disease.

The piece of Zaire ebola virus strain incorporated into the vaccine is very weak and it cannot cause any danger to the volunteers, reported Dr Stephen Kennedy of Liberia, senior scientist involved in the trail. He also explained that it is impossible for the volunteers to acquire Ebola infection from the vaccine. Safety trials for the vaccines were run in the UK and Switzerland in human volunteers, and good results were observed when the potential drugs were tested in Ebola treatment facilities of medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres.

The ebola vaccine is developed and administered in a fast pace in West Africa since the dreadful epidemic disease killed around 8,500 lives in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. In about 22,000 cases reported in Liberia, around 3,600 people died of the disease; 3,274 people in Sierra Leone, 1,937 people in Guinea and 8 people in Nigeria were reported y WHO to have died of  Ebola infection .

In Liberia, the number of cases until the third week of January was reported to have come down to four, and WHO interprets that the disease has entered the second phase of epidemic and most likely end up soon.

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