Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Four-way Vaccine

Promising vaccine developed that targets two types of Ebola, Marburg and Lassa virus

14 December 2019

Four-way Vaccine

The Lassa virus (particles of which are pictured) is carried by rats native to Africa but can infect humans if they come into contact with the animal’s bodily fluids, and can spread rapidly between people by similar means. Although the virus is harmless to the rats, in people it causes a potentially fatal hemorrhagic fever. And, like two other infamous hemorrhagic fever viruses, Ebola and Marburg, Lassa is endemic in parts of Africa and a serious health threat. But a new broad-scope vaccine is set to tackle these deadly viruses en masse. The vaccine, which targets Lassa, two types of Ebola and Marburg has successfully immunised 20 macaque monkeys – none of the animals became sick when subsequently infected with the four viruses, while all unvaccinated control monkeys did. The result is an encouraging start toward a human version of the vaccine and, hopefully, the control of these pernicious pathogens.

Written by Ruth Williams

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