New Experimental Ebola Vaccine Gives High Protection: What Are The Side Effects?

First Posted: Dec 27, 2016 03:00 AM EST

The World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations (UN) announced that a new experimental Ebola vaccine has been found to be highly protective against the potentially fatal hemorrhagic disease. The results came from a major trial in Guinea, one of the countries devastated by the virus.

Highly Effective Ebola Vaccine

Dubbed as rVSV-ZEBOV, the vaccine was studied in a trial involving more than 11,800 people in Guinea in 2015. The findings show that among the 5,837 people who received the vaccine, there were no Ebola cases recorded over 10 days or more after vaccination, making it 100 percent effective. On the other hand, for the people who did not receive the vaccine, 23 cases were reported.

"While these compelling results come too late for those who lost their lives during West Africa's Ebola epidemic, they show that when the next Ebola outbreak hits, we will not be defenceless," Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny, WHO's Assistant Director-General for Health Systems and Innovation, said in a press release by the WHO.

Noted Side Effects

However, there were side effects across those who received the vaccine. About 25.4 percent of those who received the vaccine across all age groups reported headaches, 18.9 percent reported fatigue and 13.1 percent said they experienced muscle pain.

Children also reported side effects like headache, fatigue and injection pain. For adults, on the other hand, most reported headache, fatigue and muscle pain. "80 serious adverse events were reported," the researchers wrote in the study published in the journal The Lancet"The most common diagnosis was Ebola virus disease in 39/80 participants (48.7 percent) followed by road traffic accident injury in 4/80 (5 percent)," they added.

The vaccine, however, shows compelling results in protecting the people from the fatal disease that has killed thousands of people in South Africa.

"Ebola left a devastating legacy in our country. We are proud that we have been able to contribute to developing a vaccine that will prevent other nations from enduring what we endured," Dr. KeÏta Sakoba, Coordinator of the Ebola Response and Director of the National Agency for Health Security in Guinea, said in a press release by the United Nations.

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