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US Scientists Develope New Vaccine Against Ebola Virus

U.S. government scientists have developed a speedy vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus, which continues to emerge in central Africa. It protected test monkeys six times faster than an earlier version. The researchers hope it might someday be useful against a quickly spreading infection. The gruesome Ebola virus kills 50 to 90 percent of its victims. It begins with high fever, severe pain, and malaise followed by bleeding from the eyes, nose, and ears as vessels and organs deteriorate. Death can occur in as little as one week. Because Ebola acts so rapidly, researcher Gary Nabel of the U.S. government’s National Institutes of Health has sought a rapid preventive measure. In the journal Nature, he and his colleagues describe a new vaccine that takes effect very quickly in animals. “The goal of this study is to try to accelerate the take of the vaccine because in Ebola virus infection, time is a very important element,” he said. “Outbreaks occur rapidly, and the sooner you can vaccinate, the sooner the vaccine can begin to protect against infection.” Mr. Nabel’s study shows the new vaccine provided fast protection from Ebola infection for eight laboratory monkeys. Just one month after a single inoculation, they were injected with varying amounts of Ebola virus and none died. In contrast, an older version developed in the late 1990s requires four shots over six months.

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