A potential vaccine against the Ebola virus has been successful in monkeys, reveals a study published in 30 November Nature.

The Ebola virus kills nine infected people in 10 and causes severe pain, high fever and extensive internal bleeding. Researchers at the US National Institutes of Health in Maryland showed that the monkeys were able to launch an effective immune response against Ebola virus (Nature 2000 408:605-609). Knowledge of this response has helped in designing a vaccine. Gary Nabel and his team developed a vaccine consisting of DNA fragments from Ebola. The presence of these fragments caused the production of viral proteins within the monkey, which in turn stimulated immune cells. A second exposure to a weakened strain of a cold virus, genetically engineered to contain parts of Ebola, ensured a boosted response. Four monkeys were vaccinated and then exposed to huge doses of Ebola. Three of...

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