MONDAY, JUNE 18, 2018

Too early to tell if experimental Ebola vaccine safe

Courtesy of
A physician treating Ebola patients who was given an experimental vaccine after being stuck with a needle in September developed a strong immune response to the virus, but the safety and efficacy of the drug is still in question. 

Although the physician did not develop Ebola after receiving an experimental dose of the VSVAG-ZEBOV vaccine while being evacuated from Sierra Leone, researchers said it's too early to tell if the drug is an adequate post-exposure vaccine against the virus.

VSVAG-ZEBOV, the experimental vaccine that is now in a clinical trial in West Africa, was administered to the physician intramuscularly 44 hours after being stuck with the needle. 

Dr. Mark J. Mulligan, a researcher from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, documented that the patient experienced  nausea, malaise, and a fever 12 hours after receiving the vaccine. 

A follow-up exam 14 hours after the vaccine was administered showed that the patient was only moderately bothered by malaise, fever, nausea, chills and myalgia.

By the second day, the fever had decreased, but joint pain and nausea continued at a severe level.

Between days 3 and 5, the symptoms declined even further. By day 7, all symptoms had disappeared.

"The clinical syndrome and laboratory evidence were consistent with vaccination response and no evidence of Ebola virus infection was detected," Mulligan and his fellow colleagues wrote in a study published recently in Jama. "In the current patient, a self-limited, moderate to severe clinical syndrome began at 12 hours postvaccination. Future decision making about using this experimental vaccine for postexposure vaccination will need to balance the risks of harm from the vaccine or possible Ebola infection (both were unknowns at the time of the patient's exposure) against the possible benefit of vaccination (also unknown at the time of the patient's treatment). Neither the safety nor the efficacy of the VSV?G-ZEBOV vaccine for postexposure protection can be learned from this single case, but the clinical and laboratory parameters are informative at a time when there is a need to garner all information available on Ebola vaccines."