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Johnson & Johnson and Merck’s Ebola vaccines show lasting protection

Published on 15/12/22 at 10:46am

The two Ebola vaccines developed by Johnson & Johnson and Merck appeared successful according to two studies: they both produced virus-fighting antibodies after 14 days which appear to remain detectable at various levels for at least a year. The jabs also seem to be safe in both children and adults.

The vaccines are intended to target the Zaire strain of the virus rather than the Sudan strain, which recently caused an outbreak in Uganda, leading to at least 56 deaths.

The studies tested a dose of J&J’s vaccine followed by a booster from Bavarian Nordic, another tested two doses of Merck’s vaccine with an eight week gap between doses, and finally a third testing one dose of Merck’s jab followed by a placebo. It was found that Merck’s jab can be given as a single dose while J&J’s requires a booster.

Researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) pointed out that it was difficult to assess the level of protection from Ebola following these vaccinations as none of the trial participants contracted the disease throughout the trial, which began in 2017, however the jabs were found to be safe for adults and children.

Brian Greenwood, a study co-author from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, commented: “Long-term follow up of the participants in this trial is taking place to determine if and when booster doses might be needed.”

Dr H Clifford Lane, one of the researchers and a clinical director at the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of NIH, added: “I think the study shows that both the vaccines elicit good antibody responses.”


Betsy Goodfellow

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