The first jab of a new Ebola vaccine that may protect against multiple species of the virus is to be given on Thursday, researchers have said, with the vaccine based on similar technology to the Oxford Covid jab.
Ebola haemorrhagic fever is caused by the Ebola virus and has caused devastation in some parts of the world. It is thought the outbreak in west Africa in 2014-16 may have led to more than 11,000 deaths, while the outbreak in the DRC between August 2018 and June 2020 claimed more than 2,200 lives.
Highly effective vaccines against Ebola have been developed in recent years but experts warn these have only been approved for one of the four species of the Ebola virus. This is the Zaire species that is responsible for many outbreaks, and has the highest mortality rate, with estimates of between 70% and 90%.
“There are three other important species of Ebola virus out there that these vaccines aren’t approved to prevent,” said Dr Daniel Jenkin, principal investigator of the trial at the Jenner Institute, University of Oxford.