Ebola vaccine developed to fight bioterrorism

an experimental vaccine against the lethal Ebola virus has been administered to humans for the first time in November 2003. If the trial proves successful, then the vaccine will be commercialised by 2006, a decade sooner than the time, it was thought, it would take to develop the inoculation. The potential to use the virus as a bioterrorism weapon is one of the major factors determining the speed at which the vaccine was developed. It can also be used as a preventive tool in countries where the virus is endemic.

It is the first of two vaccines being developed by researchers from the us-based National Institutes of Health (nih). During tests on monkeys in 2000, it was found to be 100 per cent effective. The human trial would involve 27 volunteers. Six of them would be given a placebo. The rest will receive three injections during two stages of the treatment. In the first stage, the immune system will be