One of the great risks of Ebola was that it might become a permanent fixture of the medical landscape. Instead of outbreaks, there would be new cases all the time, occasionally flaring into outbreaks. So the news there was a vaccine that had been 100% effective in early trials had the entire medical world holding its breath. New trials have come in, however, and 2016 might be the year we finally beat Ebola.
The Lancet has a new paper discussing a trial in Guinea where 4500 people were vaccinated. Just as important as the vaccine itself was the technique. Since Ebola only spreads through direct contact with bodily fluids, the trials vaccinated the “ring” of people around each sufferer, ensuring the fever didn’t get a foothold on another person. And the vaccine, according to the results, was 100% effective. Between the two trials, and the 7500 people vaccinated, there were just 23 cases.
There’s still a staggering amount of work to do. This vaccine will need to be tested elsewhere and those vaccinated monitored carefully to ensure there are no long term effects from the vaccine. But this still means we’re closing 2016 with a working vaccine for one of the worst public health crises in the world, and that’s a win in anyone’s book.
(via The Lancet)