A team of scientists from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and the National Institutes of Health recently created an aerosolized, inhalable vaccine that has proven effective in preventing primates from contracting Ebola.
Earlier studies involving primates show that biothreat agents, or particles in the air, in aerosol form are infectious. This is because contact between the mucus membranes -- along the respiratory tract -- and the Ebola virus can cause an infection, so treating this entryway in the airway linings is an important target for treatments.
"A needle-free, inhalable vaccine against Ebola presents certain advantages," Michelle Meyer, lead author and UTMB postdoctoral fellow in the department of pathology, said. "Immunization will not require trained medical personnel."
This is the
first time that aerosolized delivery has been tested for vaccines to
protect against Ebola and other viral hemorrhagic fevers.
"This study demonstrates successful aerosol vaccination against a viral hemorrhagic fever for the first time," said Alex Bukreyev, virologist, UTMB professor and senior author. "A single-dose aerosol vaccine would enable both prevention and containment of Ebola infections, in a natural outbreak setting where healthcare infrastructure is lacking or during bioterrorism and biological warfare scenarios.”
Further details are available in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.