The vaccine, developed at the National Institutes of Health, was originally designed to protect against two Ebola viruses discovered in 1976. But now researchers have discovered it also protects against a newer Ebola virus species that was identified in 2007.
The medical investigators, led by Nancy Sullivan of the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, included scientists from the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"The important work by Dr. Sullivan and her colleagues shows that it is possible to generate immunity to newly identified species of Ebola virus with a vaccine originally designed to protect against a different species," NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci said. "This finding will guide future vaccine design and may open an avenue for developing a single vaccine that works against both known and emerging Ebola virus species."
The research is reported in the journal PLoS Pathogens.