U.S. Begins Human Trials for Ebola Vaccine

Vaccinating a woman - DB3742
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Maryland will be launching the first of several human trials for an Ebola vaccine in wake of the outbreak spreading in West Africa that has killed more than 2,000 people.  Two US aid workers recovered from the virus after receiving treatment with an experimental drug known as ZMapp, yet it is still unclear how effective the treatment can be since other patients still died after receiving the drug.  A vaccine would instead provide an immunity against the virus by stimulating the production of antibodies that specifically guard against the disease.  Twenty volunteers will receive the trial vaccine, though they will not be infected with the actual virus.  Instead, researchers will be observing how their immune system responds to the vaccine and if there are any adverse reactions.

Ebola virus - BD2590

Ebola hemorrhagic fever has a fatality rate between 50-90% and is characterized by flu-like symptoms which develop into severe fluid loss, such as vomiting and diarrhea, followed by the development of skin rashes, decreased liver and kidney function, as well as internal and external bleeding.  The disease is transmitted through direct contact with bodily fluids from infected humans, or animals that act as natural reservoirs for the virus, such as bats. 

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