Galveston, TX

UTMB Galveston National Laboratory scientists discover five ebola vaccines in a joint study supported by NIAID

Jason Martinez

GALVESTON, TX - A new joint study about five types of Ebola vaccine is published in Science Translational Medicine. The leader of this multi-year study, Alexander Bukreyev, Ph.D., of the UTMB Galveston National Laboratory, analyzed whether all the vaccines provided protection and produced strong antibody responses.

This study is supported by grants from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. It is also in collaboration with other scientists from the University of Texas Medical Branch, the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard, the Scripps Research Translational Institute, Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and the Plum Island Animal Disease Center.

The team also examined 139 different immune and vaccine response parameters to see which ones were responsible for improving the “quality of survival.”

“Testing during outbreaks is difficult because of their sporadic nature, and yet much needs to be studied in order to determine the most effective vaccine for combatting this disease. Establishing the signatures of vaccine-generated immunity remains crucial for vaccine design, assessment, and application,” said Bukreyev.

Meanwhile, the lead author of the paper, Research Scientist Michelle Meyer, Ph.D., of UTMB reported that Ebola vaccine-induced protection in non-human primates correlates with antibody specificity and Fc-mediated effects, which reports the efficacy results of the vaccines in cynomolgus macaques challenged with EBOV.

There are five mucosal vaccines tested differed in the degree of protection against death and disease, varied from disease-free survival to only partial protection.

Meyer also suggests that vaccines need to do more than allow for survival and ideally resulted to stop the virus replication and abate disease.

Furthermore, to evaluate antibody features that are relevant and potentially predictive of protection, the team applied a survival index in the analysis which combined several parameters of EBOV disease to allow for correlations with improved infection outcomes.

During the most recent Ebola outbreaks in Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of Congo, there are over 300,000 people were vaccinated. Meyer also mentioned that deciphering the immune responses to vaccination that correlate with protection is imperative to predict the efficacy of vaccines in humans.

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