As of today there is not an approved vaccine for Ebola. Although scientist are working on it and are running clinical trials as they need to make sure that the vaccine that was used on the two nurses that contracted Ebola is safe to use.
Two companies, GlaxoSmithKline and NewLink Genetics, have begun conducting clinical trials for a potential Ebola vaccine, while five more pharmaceutical manufacturers are reportedly planning clinical trials for the first quarter of 2015. One of those companies, Johnson & Johnson, has said it will begin trials in January.
Meanwhile, vaccine trials are set to begin in Liberia and Sierra Leone, two of the most Ebola-stricken countries. In Liberia, doctors will conduct a double-blind randomized control trial, where Ebola vaccines will be administered to a certain group of people, and a group of equal size will be given another vaccine for an ailment such as measles or meningitis. Study participants won’t know which vaccine they received so that the results are not affected.
Given the enormity of the Ebola crisis, government officials have said the traditional approval process is being expedited and that all available Ebola vaccines will be administered during the West Africa trials in order to study efficacy and safety in humans.
In the U.S., efforts have focused on experimental treatments for those who have already contracted Ebola. Blood plasma transfusions have been used for several Ebola patients, including two infected nurses from Dallas who have since recovered and are free of the virus. The nurses received plasma from an Ebola survivor.
Scientists believe that Ebola survivors produce antibodies and proteins in their plasma that aid in beating the virus. A transfusion of blood from a cured Ebola patient to an infected one may help that sick person’s body fight off the illness.
Although plasma therapy has proved effective for curing Ebola patients, no medical research has confirmed that the treatment is successful for everyone under any circumstance of Ebola.