Ebola Vaccine Proves To Be Very Effective

A vaccine to fight Ebola is showing very promising success:

In a development that could change the way the deadly Ebola disease is fought, researchers have announced promising results of a new vaccine’s trial in Guinea, one of several countries affected by a historic outbreak in West Africa.

“The estimated vaccine efficacy was 100 percent,” a team of researchers say.

The trial was called Ebola ça Suffit — French for “Ebola that’s enough.” Funded by the World Health Organization and other groups, it started in April and ended on July 20, relying on participants who consented to be part of the trial. The more than 20 researchers who took part published their findings in The Lancet medical journal on Friday.

“The current data basically tells us that the vaccine works to protect people against Ebola,” says Dr. Bertrand Draguez, medical director of Médecins Sans Frontières,which took part in the research along with WHO and authorities in Guinea.

Draguez and other experts are heartened by the new results — but they also warn that as testing expands, the effectiveness rate of the vaccine will likely fall below 100 percent. The trial used the “ring vaccination” method, in which all suspected contacts receive treatment. No placebos were administered.

“Even if the sample size is quite small and more research and analysis is needed,” Draguez says, “the enormity of the public health emergency should lead us to continue using this vaccine right now to protect those who might get exposed to the disease: contacts of infected patients and front-line workers.”

The trial vaccine, formally called rVSV-ZEBOV but more commonly known as VSV-EBOV, was supplied by the pharmaceutical firm Merck Sharp & Dohme. The drug was initially developed by Canada’s Public Health Agency and was tested as early as 2011.

To conduct the Guinea trial, researchers used newly confirmed Ebola cases to identify clusters of people with whom the patients had contact. On a random basis, those clusters then received the vaccine either immediately or after a 21-day delay.

“In the immediate vaccination group, there were no cases of Ebola virus disease with symptom onset at least 10 days after randomization,” the researchers say, “whereas in the delayed vaccination group there were 16 cases of Ebola virus disease from seven clusters, showing a vaccine efficacy of 100 percent.”

Researchers say that for both groups — those who got the vaccine immediately and those who received it after a delay — no new Ebola cases were diagnosed starting at six days after vaccination.

While Ebola largely disappeared from American headlines after the last patients that were diagnosed were treated and released late last year, it still remains a problem in the three western Africa nations that were source of last year’s outbreak. Fortunately, the number of new cases being reported is far, far below what it was even a years when the epidemic was just beginning. However, that incident reminded us that the virus remains in the environment in Africa and could easily reappear. Given how it ended up passing through international borders, and more important infecting the health care workers that were in country to treat people, a development like this that could stop another outbreak in its is very positive. Hopefully, the trials will continue to give us good news and we’ll be ready the next time the virus returns.

FILED UNDER: Africa, Environment, Science & Technology, , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. gVOR08 says:

    Perhaps an appropriate time to recall the story of the nurse who returned from Africa to find Chris Christie trying to bully her into quarantine. You’ll remember that she basically told Christie to pound salt and went home. Wonder how he’d do with Putin. Or even Trump.

  2. KM says:

    Good news! Way to go science!!!

    I’m insanely curious how the anti-vaxxers will respond. Here’s something that’s proven deadly, a fresh heavyweight contender unlike the down-but-not-out former champs like polio or measles. Would they vax their kids if it meant they didn’t have to worry about them bleeding to death when the next epidemic rolls around?

  3. Slugger says:

    Heartiest congratulations to all who participated in this effort. If this pans out, MSF should certainly get the Nobel for Medicine to go with their 1999 award for Peace.

  4. humanoid.panda says:

    If I were king for a day, I’d establish a Truth and Justice Comission for everyone who instigated the Ebola Panic of 2014: the politicians, and journalists, and corporate honchos and the conspiracy theorists. That was a deeply shameful moment that revealed all the ugliest impulses of American life, and no one has or ever will give an account for their role in it.

  5. DrDaveT says:

    The trial was called Ebola ça Suffit — French for “Ebola that’s enough.”

    A better colloquial translation might be something like “Enough already, Ebola.”

  6. MikeSJ says:


    If I were king for a day, I’d establish a Truth and Justice Comission for everyone who instigated the Ebola Panic of 2014:

    Panic? What Panic?

    I was too frightened to keep up with the news so I did a complete shut down.

    Is there still even a country left? How many tens of millions have died here in the US from the hordes of Ebola victims coming in from Mexico anyway?

    I assume we’ve lost both coasts and the Government is probably running things out of a missile silo in Nebraska?

    I mean I did watch all the Ebola news being broadcast 24 -7 so I’m pretty sure this actually happened.

  7. anjin-san says:

    Are Jenos & JKB still hiding under their beds?

    The display of abject cowardice we saw around Ebola was pretty amazing.

    My cousin is a nurse. Every other year, she spends ten days in West Africa on her own nickel to take care of people there that need medical attention. These embarrassments to American manhood could learn a thing or two from her.

  8. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: Oh, you miss me. I’m flattered. And slightly creeped out, to be perfectly candid.

    I have zero regrets about my concerns about Ebola from last year. And the fact that one year later we have something that is a bit more concrete than “promising” and “could change” is very good news, but hardly conclusive.

    BTW, if the authors are reading this, I tried reading the site on my Droid tablet a few times, and it not only locked up my browser, but also tried to dump some rather unpleasant spyware on my device. Which was yet another reason to not bother.

  9. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Oh, you miss me.

    Thank you Sally FIeld…

    my concerns

    “Concerns”? I think you mean your hysterical ranting 🙂

  10. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    That must be that awesome liberal SCIENCE!!!!!! in action — “we shouldn’t worry about a highly contagious and highly fatal disease now, because in a year we’ll have a vaccine that shows great promise!”

    You worthless ambiguating clot, have you even heard the phrase “hope isn’t a method?”

  11. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    “we shouldn’t worry about a highly contagious and highly fatal disease now, because in a year we’ll have a vaccine that shows great promise!”

    Except no one said that, it’s simply something you made up in an attempt to deflect the conversation from your own shameful cowardice.

    In fact, liberals on OTB showed what turned out to be an entirely appropriate level of concern during the Ebola “crisis”.

    Have a nice day Sally.

  12. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: You mean, like you made up me panicking and freaking out (a lie) over nothing (another lie)?

    Don’t use tactics, annie, that you don’t want turned back on you. It makes you look like a hypocrite.

    No, strike that. It exposes you as the flaming hypocrite you are. Also, it puts you dangerously close to actually taking a position on something, instead of just mocking others without actually ever contributing anything of substance, and everyone knows how much an anathema that is to you.

  13. stonetools says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Buy Apple. Seriously. I don’t even think about malware these days.

    And honestly, the Fox News treatment of ebola was a barefaced and sadly successful attempt to rile up low information Republican voters to get them to vote in the 2014 elections against the crazy black man in White House who was letting crazy black man diseases into “our” country.

  14. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    You mean, like you made up me panicking and freaking out

    Dude, your comments are on record 🙂 You have a long history of trying to deny your own comments, which is understandable considering how often you have been wildly, horribly wrong.

    I suppose I could go back and dig some of your ebola remarks up. Oh wait, I’m off to spend the day hanging out with some astronauts. What are your plans for the day, Little Jenos?

  15. anjin-san says:


    Buy Apple. Seriously. I don’t even think about malware these days.

    Running Bitdefender once a week is a good idea, even if you have a Mac.

  16. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    It was such a pleasant comment thread and then anjin went trolling…

  17. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: Dude, your comments are on record

    And apparently so memorable that you remember them that clearly a year later. But yeah, they’re on record. Why don’t you actually quote them and prove just how panicked I was? Go ahead, annie, put up or shut up.

    In some ways, Ebola is worse than HIV. HIV is more fatal, but Ebola is far more readily transmitted. And it didn’t help that the public health officials last summer kept having to correct their “misstatements” as their notices (to get a little Nixonian) and declarations became “inoperative.”

    So come on, annie. Like you said, my statements are all on the record. Put m in my place and shove my words down my throat.

    Alternately, you can admit you are grossly exaggerating (to be kind) and can’t back up what you say.

    I’m predicting you’ll (as usual) take option 3, and do neither. Just restate your declaration and say that it’s so obviously true that it needs no proof, and everyone knows that. You just can’t be bothered to actually demonstrate it.

    Like you never do.

    Like you always do.

  18. Matt says:

    @stonetools: Apple immune to malware? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    Oh the ignorance.

  19. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @stonetools: If I want to expand the storage of my Droid device, I can drop $20 and pop in a 32GB MicroSD card.

    If I need a new sync cable, I can get one for about 5 bucks.

    They’ve just rolled out flash drives with both a USB and a Lightning connector, but 1) they’re expensive, and 2) they stick out of the port by at least an inch or so. And the cheapest Lightning cable I’ve seen was about $10 for an off-brand one.

    The biggest reason there’s so little malware aimed at Apple is because Apple exercises such tight control over their devices that no one — not bad guys, and not the owner — can really do much with the devices that Apple thinks might be too risky.

  20. Matt says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Well the thing is Apple severely restricts what software you’re allowed access to. That alone keeps people from being stupid and downloading software off untrustworthy sites. Where as android is very open in comparison which allows for people to make stupid decisions about locating and installing software.

    Having said that though there’s a ton of apple related viruses and malware for both the phones and the computers.

  21. anjin-san says:


    Apple severely restricts what software you’re allowed access to. That alone keeps people from being stupid and downloading software off untrustworthy sites

    It’s simple enough to change a Mac’s security settings and download all sorts of nasty stuff. My experience has been that while viruses are not much of a problem in the MacVerse, malware is very much an issue.

  22. Grewgills says:

    For those who don’t remember Jenos response to ebola here is a link to one of the several threads.
    Among other things he said

    We can either be one of those countries who ban travel from infected countries, or one of those countries banned.

    And if we don’t choose soon, we may not get a choice

    .Ebola is about 90% fatal. To spell that out in simple terms, if 10 people get infected, 9 will die.

    There was a whole lot more and regardless of how many times he was corrected on how contagious the disease is and how fatal it is in the developed world he kept repeating the same discredited numbers and arguments and kept laying the blame for the local response in Texas on the Federal government even when repeatedly shown that legally it was the responsibility of the local governments and the action he was saying the Feds should have taken was illegal.

  23. Matt says:

    @anjin-san: You don’t have to change a single bit of settings in a mac for it to be infected. Nor do you have to download and install shady software for the infection to occur. There’s a ton of known exploits still un-patched by Apple that allows direct access to your machine through several methods. Only when the exploit gets on CNN or such does Apple bother to actually patch it.

    Now if you want to talk about windows then yes your point about turning off UAC and such allow for the machine to be exploited much easier. People get trained to click yes yes and suddenly they have teh virus.

    I’ve worked on both kinds of machines for over 20 years now. When I first started working on Macs was when they were based on the superior RISC instruction set. Now Macs are nothing more then re-badged PCs with a heavily modified BSD based OS.

    I used to have an OS X install as part of a triboot (linux, win 7 and OS X) on my server just so I could mess with the Mac people I am friends with.

  24. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Put m in my place and shove my words down my throat.

    I see someone beat me too it 🙂

  25. anjin-san says:

    Jenos? Wherever have you gotten off too?