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A single dose of a breathable, respiratory vaccine could provide long-term protection against the deadly Ebola virus, new research shows. Currently in development, the vaccine was found effective in shielding non-human primates from the virus. The findings could have significant global implications in controlling future Ebola outbreaks as they represent the only proof to date that a single dose of a non-injectable vaccine for Ebola is long lasting.
'There is a desperate need for a vaccine that not only prevents the continued transmission from person to person, but also aids in controlling future incidences,' said Kristina Jonsson-Schmunk from the University of Texas, Austin. 'The main advantage of our vaccine platform over the others in clinical testing is the long-lasting protection after a single inhaled dose,' Maria Croyle, professor at the University of Texas, added. (Read: 10 reasons that make the Ebola virus deadly for humans)
The researchers worked over seven years to develop a respiratory formulation that improved survival of immunised, non-human primates from 67 percent to 100 percent. This improvement is statistically significant because only 50 percent of the primates given the vaccine by the standard method of intramuscular injection survived the challenge. Although progress has been made in understanding the Ebola virus' biology, no licensed vaccines or treatments currently exist, the researchers noted. (Read: 8 tips to prevent Ebola infection)
The Ebola virus is an often fatal illness that is spread among the human population via direct contact with blood or bodily fluids from an infected individual. The current Ebola outbreak in Western Africa is the largest and most complex epidemic since the virus was first discovered in 1976, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The study appeared online in the journal Molecular Pharmaceutics. (Read: What is the Ebola virus disease survival rate?)
How the Ebola virus spreads in humans?
It can spread through infected animals: Medical experts and researchers believe that Ebola was first transferred into humans through animals. However it has not yet been ascertained which animal could have led to the spread of the epidemic in humans. To avoid further contamination through animals it is advised to avoid eating uncooked meat, as one might run the risk of getting infected with the virus from an infected animal.
It can spread by using infected needles and other contaminated objects: This is obvious as infected needles and other contaminated objects might have remnants of infected body fluids. If this gets into the system of a healthy individual, it can spread the deadly disease rapidly. Read more about How the Ebola virus spreads in humans
With inputs from IANS
Photo source: Getty images
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