Israeli, German researchers find way to improve Ebola vaccines
JERUSALEM, Nov. 21 (Xinhua) -- Israeli and German researchers have found a way to improve existing vaccines against Ebola disease, the Weizmann Institute of Science (WIS) reported on Thursday.
A vaccine that protects against Ebola, one of the most deadliest viral diseases, was recently approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the first time any immunization against Ebola has passed this hurdle.
This vaccine has already helped to control deadly outbreaks of the disease, but nobody knew so far how the vaccines stimulate the body's immune system to fight the virus, or whether the vaccine provides prolonged protection.
In the study, the WIS researchers, along with their colleagues at the University of Cologne, have decoded how this vaccine activates the immune system.
To reach these results, the team used a high-power electron microscope, revealing the three-dimensional (3D) structure of how antibodies bound to the Ebola virus.
The team also suggested how, in future versions of the vaccine, the generation of Ebola-fighting antibodies might be improved.
In their experiments, the scientists also showed that subjects who received a small dose of the vaccine generate similar profiles of antibodies to subjects who had received a higher dose.
According to the scientists, this might decrease the cost of producing the vaccine, something that would help Africa's health services deliver more doses of the vaccine, to more people, and save lives.