Vaccine against Ebola and Marburg successful in trial with monkeys

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Scientists from Canada, the United States and France have developed the first vaccine to protect monkeys against Ebola and Marburg viruses.

The deadly Ebola fever killed as many as 120 people in the north-western Congo in 2003, and there have been over 255 deaths from Marburg in northern Angola since April this year.

Health workers in Angola are still fighting that outbreak of Marburg and cases of Ebola have been reported in Congo.

The Ebola and Marburg viruses cause haemorrhagic fever, a massive internal and external bleeding, which usually kills as many as 90% of those infected.

The study is encouraging news and will hopefully advance research into finding treatments for use in humans. There are presently no vaccines and no drugs available against the deadly viruses.

This latest research, which is an important breakthrough, clearly demonstrates the real potential for protection against these diseases.

In their study the scientists adapted another type of virus to carry proteins from the Ebola and Marburg viruses, the modified virus was then injected into macaque monkeys who were later exposed to the disease-causing pathogens.

Just a single injection appeared to completely protect the monkeys.

The researchers say that the initial data is so encouraging that the technique could be used against other emerging viruses and may even lead to a trial vaccine being developed for humans.

The study is published in the Nature Medicine journal.

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