Good news, bad news

Remember the big Ebola concerns about a year ago? We just had to be careful to avoid direct contact with body fluids and we wouldn’t get infected, right? Everyone knew that even though some people were saying there was evidence it could be airborne. But the airborne hypothesis was mostly dismissed.

Good news and bad news just came out. There is a vaccine which is working in the first primate trials. Inhalable Ebola vaccine effective in primates:

One dose of an inhalable Ebola vaccine was enough to protect monkeys exposed to 1,000 times the fatal Ebola dose from being infected by the disease, according to a new study.

An inhalable version of the vaccine means that highly trained medical personnel would not be necessary to distribute it, however researchers remain cautious because one vaccine this year already was shown to have no effect on humans despite working well in primates.

Researchers compared the effects of the aerosol and liquid forms as well, finding that the aerosol appeared to induce a stronger immune response in the respiratory tract than the liquid form. Because Ebola, which can be spread through the air, often enters the body through the lungs and respiratory system, the extra protection from the virus there is seen as important to its efficacy.

Emphasis added.

7 thoughts on “Good news, bad news

  1. If you read the original study, it better explains it. http://www.jci.org/articles/view/81532

    ” Studies with NHPs suggest that aerosols of most biothreat agents, such as EBOV, are infectious (4) and that the virus can be transmitted though biological fluid droplets (5), fomites, and self-inoculation through contact (6). A recent study utilizing the guinea pig model demonstrated that contact with EBOV through mucosal surfaces of the respiratory tract results in respiratory infection (7).”

    The question would be “How would the ebola virus become aerosolized?”

  2. Ebola has some interesting traits, it can be spread by droplets (same as any other virus really) so that isn’t particularly interesting, but that it can linger on dry surfaces for quite some time (something other viruses don’t generally do).

    UV light is a good thing in this case as it breaks down the nucleic acid bonds quite efficiently.

    What is even more interesting is that a non-human disease vector in West Africa has yet to be identified.

    So yes, it is scary, but the numbers involved have never gotten to the level of “OMG Panic NOW!” that many folks were concerned about last summer. Expect the “slow burn” to continue until the researchers involved can figure out where the viral reserve is lingering in the environment and how it is getting into new victims.

  3. The reason that the statements about the virus and its forms of spread were so confusing is differing definitions of “airborne” between lay definition and scientific definitions.

    Differences that the administration intentionally exploited to deny disingenuously the level of danger of exposed persons.

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