New vaccine targets Ebola virus

Dec. 6, 2011 at 2:11 PM
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TEMPE, Ariz., Dec. 6 (UPI) -- A vaccine has been created that protects mice against a deadly form of the Ebola virus, a U.S. scientist involved in its development said.

Biotechnologist Charles Arntzen from Arizona State University said the vaccine protects 80 percent of the mice injected with the deadly virus, which in humans kills more than 90 percent of the people it infects.

Importantly, the new vaccine survives being "dried down and frozen" and remains viable long-term and therefore can be successfully stockpiled, he told the BBC.

Ebola, first identified in 1976, is transmitted via bodily fluids, and sufferers experience nausea, vomiting, internal bleeding and organ failure before they die.

The new vaccine contains a synthetic viral protein which helps the immune system to more effectively recognize the Ebola virus, researchers said.

The next step is to test the vaccine against a strain of Ebola closer to the one that infects humans, Arntzen said.

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