Vaccine for killer Ebola virus being developed by Spanish researchers

FEVERISH STUDY: Researchers hope to have results from initial experiments within a year. FEVERISH STUDY: Researchers hope to have results from initial experiments within a year. Shutterstock

A VACCINE to protect against all five strains of the deadly Ebola virus is being worked on by Spanish researchers, and it would be the first of its kind.

A prototype Ebola vaccine has been developed by phamaceutical company Merck, but it is only effective against the “Zaire” strain.

Specialists from the October 12 hospital in Madrid have been working for several months with researchers at two other hospitals in the capital, to assess and analyse blood samples taken from three people cured of Ebola in Spain.

Rafael Delgado, head of microbiology at the October 12 hospital, told reporters that the work is so complex because the virus protects itself with proteins that act as a shield, making it difficult for the body’s immune system to fight the virus.

Although the three Spanish patients had produced “very effective” viral antibodies, they were only in a small quantity and only against the Zaire strain.

Mr Delgado confirmed that researchers are aiming to reproduce these antibodies on a larger scale, and in a way that would make them resilient against all five virus strains.

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