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There is not yet a licensed Ebola vaccine for humans; however, a vaccine has been shown to be effective in monkeys. If this vaccine proves similarly effective in humans, it may one day allow scientists to quickly contain Ebola outbreaks. The trial vaccine is similar to other investigational vaccines that hold promise for controlling such diseases as AIDS, influenza, malaria, and hepatitis.

Is There a Vaccine for Ebola?

Ebola hemorrhagic fever is a highly contagious disease that causes death in up to 90 percent of those infected with the virus. Furthermore, there is no treatment that will cure the infection once it begins; therefore, preventing the spread of the virus is crucial to containing outbreaks. This is one reason why research scientists are actively studying a possible Ebola vaccine.
 
At this point, there is not a licensed vaccine for humans; however, an Ebola vaccine has shown to be effective in monkeys.
 

Ebola Vaccine in Monkeys

Based on recent research findings, a single shot of a fast-acting, experimental vaccine successfully protected monkeys from the deadly Ebola virus after only one month. If this vaccine proves similarly effective in humans, it may one day allow scientists to quickly contain outbreaks with ring vaccination, which is the same strategy that was successfully used against smallpox, according to a study published in the journal Nature.
 
This research has enormous public health implications, not only because it might be used to limit the spread of Ebola virus, which continues to emerge in central Africa, but also because this vaccine strategy may be applied to other highly lethal viruses that cause acute disease outbreaks and require a rapid response -- such as the Marburg and Lassa fever viruses, and the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus.
 
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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