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Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shown to Work During Trial

  • VOA News

People stand at the entrance of Elwa hospital, which is run by the non-governmental French organization Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders), in Monrovia, Liberia, Sept. 7, 2014.

People stand at the entrance of Elwa hospital, which is run by the non-governmental French organization Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders), in Monrovia, Liberia, Sept. 7, 2014.

New studies show that an experimental Ebola vaccine that is being tested on monkeys can work for five weeks, or up to 10 months if used in conjunction with a booster shot.

In a study published Sunday in the journal Nature Medicine, researchers from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) said the experimental vaccine regimen produced durable immunity against the deadly virus.

Researchers say a single dose of the vaccine protected all four test monkeys when exposed to Ebola five weeks later. They said half were protected when exposed to the virus 10 months after vaccination.

However, in tests on a separate group of monkeys, scientists say a booster shot, given two months after the initial vaccination, extended protection for all vaccinated monkeys for up to 10 months.

The vaccine tested by the NIH is similar to one being developed by drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline.

US military help

U.S. President Barack Obama says the U.S. military would help in the fight against the Ebola virus, which has killed more than 2,000 people in West Africa.

Speaking on NBC's Meet the Press, Obama said U.S. military assets are needed to set up isolation units and equipment and provide security for international health workers.

Obama said he believes the United States needs to make dealing with the Ebola outbreak a national security priority.

He warned that it will still take months to control the epidemic and said that if efforts are not made now the outbreak could spread across Africa and around the world.

Ebola lockdown

Meanwhile, authorities in Sierra Leone are ordering people to stay at home for three days this month as part of an effort to stop the spread of the Ebola virus.

Humanitarian group Doctors Without Borders has criticized the measure, saying it could lead to people trying to conceal infections.

Experts have repeatedly said that quarantines and border closures do not help control Ebola. They recommend screening and immediate treatment for suspected patients.

A Sierra Leone government spokesman said Saturday people will not be allowed to leave their homes from late September 18 till September 21.

A lockdown last month in an area of Monrovia, Liberia, sparked riots.

Ebola has ravaged Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Nigeria since March.

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