(Repeats to additional subscriber service)
March 14 The world should be far better prepared
for the next Ebola outbreak, with further promising results on
Tuesday showing the potential of a long-lasting vaccine against
the deadly virus.
The two-part shot from Johnson & Johnson and Danish
partner Bavarian Nordic induced a durable immune
response lasting a full year in 100 percent of healthy
volunteers vaccinated, researchers reported.
"The persistence of vaccine-induced immunity to one year
post-immunisation is truly impressive," said researcher Matthew
Snape of the University of Oxford.
"The fact that all participants retained Ebola-specific
antibodies to the end of the study does raise hope that this
vaccine could induce responses that last for several years."
The vaccine requires one dose to prime the immune system and
a second shot to boost the body's response.
That is different from another Ebola vaccine from Merck
, which was the first to prove effective in preventing
human infection during a large trial in Guinea last year.
Scientists have been racing to develop vaccines for Ebola
after more than 11,300 people died in West Africa's 2013-2016
epidemic. Recent progress means experts are now confident the
world will not be defenceless when the next outbreak hits.
There is debate, however, as to the best vaccination
strategy for different groups at risk.
While Merck's rVSV-EBOV shot could be deployed to provide
"ring vaccination" of people in recent contact with new Ebola
cases, a longer-lasting option might be a better bet for healthy
support workers coming in to fight the crisis.
The "prime-boost" vaccine developed by J&J and Bavarian
Nordic is currently being tested in large global trials that
include more than 1,000 subjects in Africa.
Results from those studies are still awaited but the vaccine
has already been submitted to the World Health Organization for
Emergency Use Assessment and Listing, which could allow it to be
deployed on an accelerated basis in the event another Ebola
J&J said it had a stockpile of 1.8 million dosing regimens
on standby in deep freeze, with the capacity to produce several
million more if needed.
"We are so much more advanced now than two or three years
ago," said Paul Stoffels, J&J's chief scientific officer. "We
are ready to intervene if tomorrow there was a new emergency."
Keith Chappell from the University of Queensland said the
data to date was encouraging, especially since the J&J vaccine
was non-replicating and therefore potentially safer than the
The findings, based on a Phase I clinical trial involving 75
healthy subjects, were published in the Journal of the American
(Reporting by Ben Hirschler and Will Boggs; Editing by Mark