The news has not been waiting. After a year of intense work, the results are much more promising than you would expect. The New Ebola Vaccine, Known as rVSV-ZEBOV is Tremendously Effective. In fact, it could even be 100% effective. We are finally faced with a solution to one of the most worrying diseases of the last decade. Are we on the verge of eradicating this problem forever? This is how this interesting vaccine works.
Very Promising Results
According to the prestigious “The Lancet” recently announced, after more than a year of clinical trials (ie with people), the Ebola vaccine developed from vesicular stomatitis virus (hence the name, VSV, for its Acronym in English), it works. And it works very, very well. Of the 11,841 “subjects” analyzed in the trial, none of the vaccinated (about half) contracted the virus. On the contrary, in the other half, there were twenty-three cases among the nearly 6,000 contacts. Although the figure may seem small, the rate of Ebola virus infection is 1.9, so taking into account the variants of the virus and that those affected almost always took adequate precautionary measures, the number of secondary infections is quite high reasonable. This almost certainly points to the fact that the vaccine is very effective, being able to protect us practically to 100% of the virus.
(Ebola Vaccine) RVSV-ZEBOV, The Name of The Solution
The Ebola vaccine was developed a couple of years ago by a Canadian laboratory. This vaccine is based on the genetically modified vesicular stomatitis virus so that instead of producing its own molecules it produces one of the Ebola viri. In case you do not remember, vaccines work because they expose the body to some part of the virus or bacteria that causes the disease. But they do it in a “safe” way because it is only a molecule or a molecular structure. When a virus or microbe reaches the body, the immune system detects it as strange and breaks it into pieces. These pieces, then, are used to “teach” other parts of the immune system to recognize them. Thus, after an infection, the immune system is prepared to act more quickly and effectively against the same foreign agent.
What we do with vaccines is to accelerate that process. Instead of exposing the immune system to all the virus or bacteria, which could be dangerous, we teach only one part that we know carries the virus. The body reacts, but safely, “educating” the immune system so that the next time you stop with the molecule react immediately and not allow the virus or bacteria reproduce, causing disease. In the case of the rVSV-ZEBOV Ebola vaccine, this small part of the virus consists of a series of proteins (glycoproteins, in particular, which are usually natural cell markers). These proteins are produced by the genetically modified vesicular stomatitis virus to be harmless and produce these markers.
When injected, like any vaccine, the body reacts with alarm to a possible attack. That is why sometimes side effects like fever, dizziness or generalized pain occur: our body is reacting. But the danger exists because there is actually no virus. But the part that will make the Ebola virus recognized next time. The RVSV-ZEBOV is a modified from the RSVS-EBOV vaccine to express the own molecules of the Zaire Ebola virus variant. This variant is the most dangerous and lethal among those that exist. But it is not the only one that exists to combat the virus. That, for the moment, is the most effective as shown in the trials, in addition to no side effects.
Vaccination in Ring, The Secret of Eradication
To carry out the clinical trial, researchers “copied” a method previously used vaccination to eradicate the disease that has caused more deaths in history: smallpox. Ring vaccination is to vaccinate all family members and close contacts of an affected by Ebola. When a case is confirmed, it is automatically proceeded to vaccinate all those relative to the patient. The number is decided in each case, but can be up to eight people for each affected. In this way a barrier is created so that there are no new cases of contagion, isolating the virus. In addition to ring vaccination, doctors also vaccinated all direct contact personnel.
“When a Case is Confirmed, it Automatically proceeds to Vaccinate All Relative to The Patient”
In this way, apart from the “ring” barrier, a wall of protection against the virus was also “raised”. As we said, this method was used to eradicate smallpox. This disease was the first eliminated from the face of the earth by vaccination. It is considered to be eradicated when outbreaks do not recur in the world. Prior to eradication, there are several stages of disease control. Although eradicated, viruses and bacteria can continue to exist. In fact, they mutate and evolve next to us, so a disease eradicated could re-emerge with a new outbreak in the future.
So, are we at the beginning of the end of the Ebola? This virus is especially dangerous for several reasons. First its lethality, in some variants, is quite high (up to 35%). That’s not quite good for a virus, because in order to “expand” its host needs to survive long enough to be in contact with other potential hosts time. However, the time the disease remains and its high virulence make it highly contagious. Although it is not transmitted through the air, fluids are more than sufficient in this case. But they also make it easier to control. All this gives us a very hopeful picture. Probably in a few years, we can talk about Ebola as something of the past. Thanks to this promising vaccine, next to the means already known to prevent the disease, the future will be clean of Ebola virus.