High-speed vaccines could help to contain unexpected outbreaks of diseases such as Ebola, according to US researchers who have developed a fast-acting vaccine against the deadly virus. Ebola occurs every year in parts of Africa, killing up to 90 per cent of its victims.
The vaccine, reported in this week's Nature, gives macaque monkeys protection from Ebola infections only four weeks after a single jab. Previous Ebola vaccines took six months and multiple boosters to confer immunity.
Most vaccines serve only as a preventive measure, because they produce immunity too slowly to be useful once an outbreak has begun. But should the newly developed vaccine prove safe and effective in humans, the researchers say, it would be fast enough to stop Ebola outbreaks.
Reference: Nature, 7 August 2003