Health Desk- 18 Nov 2020: The 2013–16 Ebola virus outbreak—the largest ever recorded—substantially hastened the development of an Ebola virus vaccine.
Before this outbreak, the safety and immunogenicity of only two Ebola virus vaccine candidates had been evaluated in phase 1 clinical trials. Since then, clinical trials, including phase 2 and 3 trials, have been done to evaluate the safety, immunogenicity, and, when possible, the efficacy of several additional Ebola virus vaccine regimens.
Importantly, the safety and efficacy of a recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus (rVSV)-based Ebola virus vaccine was shown, leading to its licensure by the European Medicine Agency in 2019, and by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2020.
Currently, the rVSV-based vaccine is used to immunise at-risk individuals during ongoing Ebola virus outbreaks to limit the spread of the disease.
However, immunisation of specific populations (eg, health-care workers) in endemic countries outside of outbreak epicentres could reduce the likelihood of amplification from spillover events in humans.