News / Health

    New Ebola Vaccine Proves Effective in Mice

    Can be stockpiled for long-term storage

    This colorized transmission electron micrograph (TEM) reveals some of the form and structure of an Ebola virus.
    This colorized transmission electron micrograph (TEM) reveals some of the form and structure of an Ebola virus.

    Multimedia

    Audio
    Art Chimes

    U.S. scientists have developed a new vaccine against the deadly ebola virus which has the potential to remain potent after years of storage.  



    Ebola is one of the deadliest viruses known. It kills about nine out of every 10 people it infects. Fortunately, outbreaks have been rare. But concern about more widespread infection, and the possibility of ebola being used as a biological weapon, have spurred research of a vaccine.

    Several experimental vaccines were developed based on the ebola virus itself. But because the virus degrades over time, virus-based vaccines have to be stored at very cold temperatures, which can be expensive. And because they use the actual ebola virus, there are safety concerns as well.

    So researchers in Arizona are trying something different. Their idea is, in effect, to trick the body's immune system into mounting a defense against ebola by making a vaccine based on material that's on the surface of the virus.

    "We take the proteins that stick out and form spikes on the virus," explained University of Arizona scientist Melissa Herbst-Kralovetz.  "They're called glycoproteins. And we fuse that to an antibody backbone."

    Co-researcher Charles Arntzen of Arizona State University says the protein-antibody particles attach to each other to form an "ebola immune complex" - or, as he put it, sort of a "glob."

    "Turns out, whenever you have a complex of identical proteins like this, it's really a nice signal to our body to say, 'oh, this is unusual, it looks like a virus, what we need to do is mount an immune response against this complex,'" he says.

    To make the glycoprotein-antibody material, the scientists used an unusual manufacturing process. They started with the DNA that contains the instructions for the spiky ebola surface protein, inserted it into a bacteria, and then dipped tobacco plants into a solution with the bacteria.

    Arntzen says that reprograms the tobacco leaf cells. "And after about 10 days to 12 days, the tobacco plant starts to get looking very sick because it's diverting all of its energy into making our vaccine."

    Herbst-Kralovetz says the experimental vaccine was tested on laboratory mice, who were exposed to live ebola virus. Combined with an adjuvant - a substance often added to make vaccines work better - she says four out of five mice were protected against the virus.

    "So, 80 percent protection correlated with the best level of protection from another candidate vaccine. And so we were very happy with that."

    And her colleague, Arntzen, says the vaccine can be dried to a powder, so it should survive long-term storage.

    The next step, before beginning human trials, is testing the vaccine in non-human primates.

    The research is reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    You May Like

    Video Russia's Expat Community Shrinking

    Russia's troubled economy, tensions with West have led hundreds of thousands of foreigners to leave for better opportunities

    Accelerating the Push Against Islamic State: What Will Work?

    Experts stress need to step up military action, address root causes of Muslims' disaffection, counter IS social media messages in a massive way

    Experts: N. Korean Abductions Sought to Halt Brain Drain

    Pyongyang abducted about 3,800 South Koreans and more than a dozen Japanese nationals in late 1970s

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.