Study shows CMV vaccine is effective against Ebola

The vaccine vector used in CMV vaccines is effective in preventing Ebola. | File photo

A recent study shows the cytomegalovirus (CMV) vaccine may be effective in protecting people from contracting the Ebola virus, which caused a recent outbreak in West Africa.

The study -- conducted at National Institutes of Health, Plymouth University, and University of California at Riverside -- shows the vaccine vector used in CMV vaccines is effective in preventing Ebola. CMV, based on a typical herpesvirus, was tested on rhesus macaque in a non-human primate model.

In addition, the study’s details give more understanding as to how the vaccine protects the body from infections. The virus can be used to target specific proteins at various times after people receive the vaccine. The new vaccine is meant to protect against Ebola later, producing antibodies against the virus without making T cells specific to the virus.

This study is an important part of the researchers’ work in translating herpes-based Ebola virus vaccines for humans.

"This finding was complete serendipity," Dr. Michael Jarvis, leader of the project at Plymouth University, said. "Although we will definitely need to explore this finding further, it suggests that we may be able to bias immunity towards either antibodies or T cells based on the time of target antigen production. This is exciting not just for Ebola, but for vaccination against other infectious as well as non-infectious diseases.”

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