3 experimental Ebola vaccines prove promising, researchers find

Three experimental Ebola vaccines, one of which is currently being used in the Democratic Republic of Congo, generate an immune response against Ebola that will last for 2 1/2 years, according to research presented Oct. 29 at the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in New Orleans.

Here are three things to know:

1. For the study, researchers analyzed blood samples taken from human volunteers who received one of three vaccine regimens about two years ago.

2. Analysis showed all three experimental Ebola vaccines produced a strong antibody response to the disease, even 2 1/2 years after immunization. The vaccines could offer protection for longer, but researchers noted 2 1/2 years is the longest experts have tracked Ebola vaccine responses in humans.

3. Health workers in the Congo are using Merck's experimental vaccine to contain the ongoing Ebola outbreak. Researchers said one of the vaccine platforms for Ebola could also serve as a model for future vaccines against other diseases.

"It’s been a long time coming, but we'll hopefully soon see that vaccines and therapeutics will be routine tools to combat Ebola," Daniel Basch, ASTMH scientific program chair, said in a press release. "We need adequate funding to ensure that these new technologies make their way to the populations most in need and that the process for rapid development expands to other priority diseases."

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