Single vaccine covers ebola and rabies

Aug. 29, 2011 at 7:04 PM
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PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 29 (UPI) -- A new single vaccine protects against both rabies and the Ebola virus, U.S. researchers say.

Matthias Schnell, director of the Jefferson Vaccine Center and a professor at Thomas Jefferson University, says the bivalent vaccines -- tested successfully in mice -- have several advantages over other Ebola candidates that could help speed up development for use in humans and primates.

"Many Ebola vaccine candidates have been proven effective, but none are close to licensure," Schnell says in a statement. "One of the challenges is the market: There's rather limited incentive in creating a vaccine for Ebola. But these vaccines could change that."

First discovered in 1976, the Ebola virus three of its five distinct species -- the Zaire, Sudan and Bundibugyo species -- are associated with large Ebola hemorrhagic fever outbreaks in Africa, Schnell says.

"Rabies still poses a health threat for people worldwide, and is especially devastating in developing nations where a post exposure treatment is often not available and Ebola still exists in parts of Central Africa and is also a chief bioterrorism concern worldwide," Schnell says. "You can protect these people from two very lethal diseases in an area where they don't have the best access to medical care."

The findings are published in the Journal of Virology.

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