Ebola: researchers are working on a universal vaccine

Ebola: des chercheurs travaillent sur un vaccin universel

Photo: Florian Plaucheur Agence France-Presse
An experimental vaccine has already been developed in the wake of the Ebola epidemic that hit West Africa between the end of 2013 and 2016, particularly in Sierra Leone.

The Spanish researchers have started to work on the development of a vaccine that they hope to be able to be effective against all strains of the Ebola virus, announced their director Wednesday in Madrid.

These researchers of the public hospital in madrid October 12-have been working for months, in collaboration with two other institutions of the Spanish capital, on blood samples of three patients affected by the virus and being treated in Spain.

According to Rafael Delgado, director of this team of researchers, three patients have developed antibodies to “very effective” against the disease, but in ” small amount “, and only effective against the strain of Zaire.

The “challenge” of these researchers is now ” to produce these antibodies on a large scale, through a vaccine that can be effective against all strains of the virus, said Rafael Delgado, head of the microbiology service of the hospital.

According to Rafael Delgado, the difficulty lies in the fact that the Ebola virus protects itself because of the protein acting as a shell and exposes his vulnerable areas during a short period of time, which further complicates the action of the immune system.

Results within a year

The microbiologist has indicated hope that in a year the results of the tests carried out on mice.

An investigational vaccine, with the technical name rVSVSV-ZEBOV, has been developed following the terrible epidemic of Ebola, the most violent of the story, which has struck West Africa between the end of 2013 and 2016, resulting in more than 11 300 people.

Administered in may in the DRC, this vaccine developed by the public health Agency of Canada, licensed to NewLink Genetics, which in turn licensed group Merck & Co — was deemed “very effective” by the world health Organization (WHO), but it is only against the strain of Zaire.

The us laboratory Johnson & Johnson is developing an experimental vaccine against the two strains.

Spain had registered, in 2014 the first person infected outside of Africa. Teresa Romero, a health care aide, had contracted the haemorrhagic fever in Spain, nursing in a hospital in madrid for a missionary repatriated from Sierra Leone and died of the disease.