Ebola virus vaccines—preparing for the unexpected

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Science  14 Aug 2015:
Vol. 349, Issue 6249, pp. 693-694
DOI: 10.1126/science.aad0681

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The still ongoing Ebola outbreak in West Africa, which began in 2013, and with more than 27,000 cases and 11,000 deaths so far, highlights the need for a vaccine against the disease (1). Hopes to have a vaccine have been nourished in recent years by studies with recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) expressing the Ebola virus glycoprotein (VSV-EBOV). VSV-EBOV efficiently protects rodents and nonhuman primates against EBOV from viral strains (Kikwit strain in 1995, for example) that caused past outbreaks, but it was not known if it is also efficacious against the Makona strain responsible for the West African outbreak. On page 739 of this issue, Marzi et al. (2) demonstrate that the recombinant vaccine provides protective immunity in macaques against the Makona strain. Complete protection was achieved within 7 days after vaccination, suggesting that the vaccine will provide an ideal countermeasure for protecting health care workers and other persons at risk in an outbreak situation.