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One-dose Ebola vaccine to be tested on humans

By Danielle Haynes

GALVESTON, Texas, April 8 (UPI) -- A team of scientists based in Texas are preparing to begin human trials of an Ebola vaccine they found is effective after one dose and shows no side effects.

The vaccine was tested on eight macaque monkeys, while two other monkeys were used as controls. Twenty-eight days later, the animals were all injected with the Ebola virus. Within a week, the two control macaques were dead and the eight with the vaccine tested negative for the virus.

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The results were significant because they were performed on non-human primates, which are more closely linked biologically to humans than other animals.

The findings were published in a report by a team of researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, Texas, and Profectus BioSciences, Inc., in the journal Nature.

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"These findings may pave the way for the identification and manufacture of safer, single dose, high efficiency vaccines to combat current and future Ebola outbreaks," Thomas Geisbert, UTMB professor of microbiology and immunology said in a press release. "We are excited at the possibility of helping develop a way to stop this deadly disease. We have a lot of more work to accomplish but it's important to note that this is a big step."

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The breakthrough comes a little more than two months after a batch of experimental Ebola vaccine by British drug maker GlaxoSmithKline was sent to Liberia for testing.

Liberia was one of the three countries in Africa hardest hit by the deadly haemorrhagic fever.

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The World Health Organization has reported more than 10,000 deaths due to the disease since its outbreak in 2014. There were a total of 30 confirmed new cases of Ebola in the week leading up to Sunday, the lowest weekly total since the third week of May 2014.

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