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New Ebola vaccine effective in trials with primates, ferrets

By Tauren Dyson
New Ebola vaccine effective in trials with primates, ferrets
A new medication successfully blocked a strain of the deadly Ebola virus in a trial in nonhuman primates and ferrets. Pictured, a single filamentous Ebola virus particle viewed using a digitally-colorized scanning electron micrograph. Photo by NIAID/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 10 (UPI) -- Scientists have developed a single dose treatment that has shown promise for combating all forms of the Ebola virus, a study says.

The new medication successfully blocked a strain of the deadly virus in nonhuman primates and ferrets, according to a study published Thursday in the journal Cell Host & Microbe.

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The drug, a two-antibody combination called MBP134, was successful against several strains of Ebola, including the Zaire strain behind the current months-long outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

"Our experimental drug can protect against all forms of Ebola known to harm people, suggesting that it will continue to protect people if the Ebola viruses evolve over time," Thomas Geisbert, a professor of microbiology and immunology the University of Texas Medical Branch and a well-known Ebola researcher, said in a press release.

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More than 600 people have been infected by the Ebola virus in the Congo in an outbreak that started last August. Thus far, there have been 368 deaths and 207 recoveries, officials report.

In December, an American doctor was infected with Ebola while working at a missionary hospital in Congo.

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Merck's rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine is the only medicine available to stop the spread of the disease.

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"Further studies exploring even lower doses could open the door to treatment via auto-injectors like the kind used for allergic reactions," said Larry Zeitlin, president of Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc., the company that has developed the new vaccine.

"The ability to quickly and efficiently provide protection against all Ebola viruses in a single dose would reduce the burden on health care workers in the field during outbreaks, especially in regions that have a less-developed infrastructure."

RELATED Over 600 cases of Ebola in Congo and 268 deaths, health ministry reports

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