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Experimental Ebola Vaccine Trialled in West Africa Declared Safe

A new vaccine that combats two strains of Ebola as well as the lethal Marburg virus has been tested on Africans in the west of the Continent, after initial trials in the United States and has been ruled safe.

The filovirus vaccine was originally tested on healthy Americans, but has now been used on Ugandan adults, who have shown a similar immune response. The Daily Telegraph quotes Doctor Julie Ledgerwood, of the US National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases who said: “This is the first study to show comparable safety and protection of an experimental Ebola vaccine in an African population.

“This is particularly encouraging because those at greatest risk of Ebola live primarily in Africa, and diminished vaccine protection in African populations has been seen for other diseases”.

The development of a successful vaccine could finally spell the end for the Ebola virus, which has broken out sporadically without prevention or cure in Sub-Saharan Africa over the past fifty years.

The present Ebola outbreak is the largest yet known, having killed significantly more people faster than ever before. The World Health Organisation announced yesterday that the death-toll of this outbreak had hit 7,518, meaning another 150 had died in the past three days.

Although a historically high figure, the death rate is not as high as estimated previously. A World Health Organisation estimate in October suggested there could be as many as 10,000 new cases a week by Christmas.

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