New vaccine fights both the Ebola virus and rabies
A new single vaccine, which is able to protect against both rabies and the Ebola virus has been developed by scientists in the US.
Researchers from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the Thomas Jefferson University say the vaccine has a number of advantages over current Ebola vaccines being tested.
There are now hopes the vaccine will act as an effective and financially viable public health tool to protect populations that are at risk of both illnesses.
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This study was purposely carried out to try to find a potential vaccine for the Ebola virus that had a realistic chance of making it to the market.
The director of the Jefferson Vaccine Center, Matthias Schnell, said: “Many Ebola vaccine candidates have been proven effective, but none are close to licensure.”
“One of the challenges is the market; there's rather limited incentive in creating a vaccine for Ebola, but this could change that.”
Schnell added: “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.
“You can protect these people from two very lethal diseases in an area where they don't have the best access to medical care.”
Meanwhile, there are hopes the vaccine could be used to tackle the illnesses in animals, particularly in gorillas.
Thousands of gorillas have died worldwide after contracting the Ebola virus, which was the reason for the World Conservation Union raising their status to ‘critically endangered’.
A number of Ebola virus outbreaks are also thought to be linked to the handling of primates, so the researchers are hoping a vaccine would minimise the cross-contamination risk.