Thomas Jefferson University Researchers Hope to Fight Ebola Using Rabies Vaccine

Medical researchers in Philadelphia, part of the international effort to develop a vaccine for the Ebola virus, have “piggybacked” on the long available vaccine for the deadly disease rabies. An ongoing outbreak of Ebola in West Africa has killed almost two hundred people and it is feared to be spreading. The fatality rate from Ebola averages 70%, depending on the strain of the virus (the Zaire strain has a fatality rate of approximately 90%. US News and World Report reported yesterday in As African Ebola Outbreak Spreads, Hopes for Vaccine Remain Years Away, that Jefferson researchers are having marked success:

Researchers at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia are spearheading another research effort along similar lines. They have produced an Ebola vaccine that piggybacks on the established rabies virus vaccine, and the new combination has successfully immunized mice and primates in lab tests against both rabies and Ebola. “I think we’ve demonstrated it is efficient in animal models, and now we have to produce a vaccine that would be appropriate for humans,” said Matthias Schnell, director of the Jefferson Vaccine Center.

ebola-poster-visual-science

Click the thumbnail for a larger, detailed graphic about the Ebola virus

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About Kenneth Lipp

Kenneth is a writer and researcher. He’s from Alabama, and will not apologize for it. He moved to Pennsylvania in 2012, but has been in love with Philadelphia since a late-night stroll down Ben Franklin Parkway to the Art Museum in July of 2011 with the love of his life. He is interested in telling Philadelphia’s dynamic and absolutely unique stories with the zeal of a constantly enamored newcomer. Kenneth is also passionate about government transparency and protection of whistleblowers, most notably PFC Chelsea Manning. His research and reporting on law enforcement and surveillance have been featured in various publications, including Rolling Stone (Meet the Private Companies Helping Cops Spy on Protesters) and Popular Science (Boston Tested Crowd-Watching Software That Catalogues People's Skin Color). His training is in both genetics and history and he likes the joke about being a helicase and unzipping your “genes.” He’s driven to know, and thinks you can handle, the truth. Follow him on Twitter @kennethlipp.

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