Recently, successful clinical trials of an injectable vaccine have been reported. However, a vaccine that needs to be injected exposes the hospital staff to the patient’s blood. Vaccines can also be formulated to be administered via inhalation, a much less evasive and safer technique, reports C&E News.
Researchers at the University of Texas, Austin, under the direction of Maria Croyle, developed and tested an inhalable Ebola vaccine for the Zaire strain in non-human primates. They gave the respiratory vaccine to three macaques along with a substance that boosts immune responses in rodents.
Over a period of five months, the researchers noted the macaques produced anti-Ebola T cells and antibodies. The macaques also resisted infection from the Ebola virus after exposure.
“The main advantage of our vaccine platform over the others in clinical testing is the long-lasting protection after a single inhaled dose,” stated Croyle. “This is important since the longevity of other vaccines for Ebola that are currently being evaluated is not fully evaluated. Moreover, this immunization method is more attractive than an injectable vaccine given the costs associated with syringe distribution and needle safety and disposal.”
Injectable Ebola vaccine research continues in Phase One Clinical trials in Oxford, Mali and Switzerland. Phase Two and Phase Three research will continue in West Africa. A safer vaccine, where the mechanism of action is via inhalation, would be a welcome tool in the fight against the Ebola virus.