Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Filovirus Vaccine in the Works!

Whether through "The Hot Zone," bio textbooks, history books, or current events articles, we've all heard lots about Ebola, and its cousin, Marburg. These extremely virulent viruses cause severe hemorrhagic fever and still do not have any vaccines or effective treatment. However, as of late, several successful vaccine tests have been run in animals models. These positive results of these tests could have a huge effect on the spread of the disease. Ideally, the filovirus vaccine "should be able to provide rapid protection following a single immunization, have the potential to work postexposure and be cross-reactive or multivalent against all Marburg virus strains and all relevant Ebola virus species and strains."

Already multiple forms of the vaccine have proven to provide immunity to their recipients. Of the many platforms tested DNA, recombinant adenovirus serotype 5, recombinant human parainfluenza virus 3 and virus-like particles have provided prophylactic protection against the disease. What is even more impressive, however, is the discovery that the recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus has been shown, in animal trials, to provide prophylactic and even postexposure protection! Imagine being able to prevent the spread of highly infectious ebola by means of postexposure vaccines! These results show that we are on our way to developing human-approved filovirus vaccines. While this virus family is more difficult to control than many (since humans are not the only reservoir), a vaccine would certainly help us ameliorate, what is considered by many, one of the most lethal diseases around today.


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