Accessibility links

Breaking News

Researchers Develop Needle-Free Ebola Vaccine

FILE - A researcher holds a vial of an experimental Ebola vaccine in Oxford, England, Sept. 17, 2014.

Researchers have developed a single-dose, needle-free Ebola vaccine that protects monkeys against infection for more than four months. The vaccine is administered through the nose, protecting the primates via the respiratory tract.

One key advantage, according to researcher Maria Croyle of the University of Texas at Austin, is that the vaccine could potentially prevent transmission of the virus from unintentional needle sticks through the unsafe handling of medical waste.

News of the vaccine is reported in Molecular Pharmaceuticals, a journal of the American Chemical Society.

The inhaled vaccine uses a harmless adenovirus, which causes the common cold, to deliver the vaccine. In a study involving macaque monkeys, none of the three primates that received the vaccine become infected when exposed to the Ebola virus at least 21 weeks later. The researchers also gave the vaccine to the macaques through intravenous injection, which also protected the animals.

The investigators say more work is needed on the formula. An under-the-tongue formulation of the vaccine is also in development.

At least two other candidate vaccines against Ebola are in clinical trials in the United States and Africa.