The quest for Ebola vaccines is intensifying: the World Health Organisation (WHO) recently announced that it will test two experimental vaccines by January. The testings have been planned to be carried out on more than 20 000 frontline health care workers working in West Africa.
A spokeswoman of the WHO, Fadela Chaib, asserted that 20 000 vaccinations will be done in January, and the following months will involve more thousands of other vaccinations.
The vaccines in question would not directly stop the epidemic, but, they will provide a protective shield to the medical workers who have enlisted their participation to help the infected patients in the African countries. The noble work does not come without risk: as of now, more than 200 of them have lost their lives as a consequence.
Medical workers are key to curbing the epidemic. The vaccinations, if found to be successful, would greatly improve the situation.
However, this plan of action is not yet confirmed.
The vaccine testings will only be done if it is proven that they are effective in stimulating the appropriate immune response to the virus. Furthermore, it has to be ensured that it is safe to be administered to humans. Preliminary results will be available by December.
The two vaccines are being made by the US National Institutes of Health and a British firm GlaxoSmithKline. They have used a modified chimpanzee cold virus and an Ebola protein. The other one is being produced by the Public Health Agency of Canada.
It was also brought to the attention of the public that another serum was being manufactured in Liberia. Antibodies had been harvested from the blood of the survivors of the epidemic to produce a suitable vaccine. The blood plasma would be extracted, treated, and, processed to be made safe for use.