Ebola debuted with two simultaneous outbreaks back in 1976, in South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Congo is where the virus got its name. Now, the scientists commenced the trials for a universal Ebola vaccine against all the four strains of the virus.
The outbreak originated in Yambuku, a village near the Ebola River. Until 2013, throughout 24 outbreaks, 2,387 people were infected with the virus, and 1,590 died. In 2013, a new outbreak occurred in West Africa. 28,646 confirmed cases and 11,323 deaths. In 2016 the spread was contained. But in 2017, in Congo, Ebolavirus hit again. In July 2019, the World Health Organization declared this outbreak world health emergency. At the end of 2019, the US approved a vaccine called rVSV-ZEBOV. But the vaccine works only against one of the four types of Ebolaviruses existing, the Zaire Ebola virus.
The genus Ebolavirus has four types of virus: the Bundibugyo virus (BDBV), Sudan virus (SUDV), the Taï Forest virus (TAFV), and the formerly Zaire Ebola virus currently known as Ebola virus (EBOV). EBOV is considered to be the most dangerous of them all.
New research gets close to a universal Ebola vaccine
Scientists are still working on finding a cure for all types of Ebola. A new study claims it has developed a new vaccine that proved to be efficient in all four types. Unlike the former treatment, rVSV-ZEBOV, which is a vaccine based on live vectors that can cause the illness as a side effect, the new vaccine contains a spherical virus-like particle (VLP).
The VLP is made from glycoproteins from EBOV and SUDV, and it was tested in the lab on rabbits. It can’t be estimated if the vaccine is going to be human effective too, but researchers are optimistic.
Karnail Singh, the co-principal investigator on the study, said that “this could be a significant advancement in the global effort to prevent or manage Ebola outbreaks, especially if this [universal Ebola vaccine] used alone or in combination with another Ebola vaccine results in long-term and durable protective immunity against different Ebola viruses.”