An experimental vaccine tested on thousands of people in Guinea who were exposed to Ebola has shown promising results, and could help end the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, according to interim results from a study published Friday in the Lancet.
The rVSV-vectored Ebola vaccine had a 100 percent success rate in a clinical trial involving a total 7,651 people, according to a report on the vaccine published in the medical journal The Lancet on Friday.
There is no licensed treatment or vaccine for Ebola, which has killed more than 11,200 people, mostly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, since the outbreak began in December 2013.
If proven effective, the vaccine could be “a game-changer,” said Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization, which sponsored the trial.
In some 4,000 people who received the vaccine within 10 days of being identified as an Ebola contact, there were no cases of the disease. That compared with 16 cases in more than 3,500 people who only got the shot after 10 days.
Liberia, worst hit by the outbreak last year, was declared Ebola free on May 9, even as new cases emerged in neighboring Sierra Leone and Guinea.
But it reported one new case nearly two months later, on June 30, and five more cases since. Two patients died but the four others recovered, meaning there are no more confirmed carriers of the deadly virus in Liberia.
At least 100 people who came into contact with the six cases and are at risk of developing symptoms will remain under surveillance through August.
Al Jazeera and wire services