- Associated Press - Saturday, December 24, 2016

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A vaccine that an Iowa company helped develop is expected to stop one of the world’s deadliest viruses.

A study published Thursday shows the vaccine is 100 percent effective in protecting people against Ebola, an infectious virus that has killed thousands and traumatized millions, mainly in Africa, according to the Des Moines Register (https://dmreg.co/2hiS0Kg ).

Ames-based NewLink Genetics helped test and refine an Ebola vaccine that was invented by Canadian scientists. A new study published in the British medical journal The Lancet says the shots protect people who might have come in contact with an infected person.

Thomas Monath, NewLink’s chief scientific officer for infectious diseases, said the vaccine’s success should mean the world will never see another widespread Ebola epidemic.

“There will still be outbreaks, but they’ll be controlled and contained rapidly,” he said.

Recent Ebola epidemics in west Africa helped accelerate work on the vaccine. Ebola causes intense fevers, bleeding, vomiting, muscle pain and fatigue. It kills about half of the people it infects.

In the study, public health officials vaccinated people who had come in contact with a person infected with Ebola in Guinea or Sierra Leone. The shots were immediately given to nearly 4,000 people who might have been exposed to the virus. None came down with Ebola. A control group of 2,000 people was given the vaccine three weeks after their possible exposures. Sixteen of those people developed the disease.

Besides royalties, the company could share in a “priority review voucher” offered by the Food and Drug Administration to companies that produce vaccines or treatments for rare or tropical diseases. The vouchers can be used to obtain a quick FDA review of future projects or sold to other companies, and can fetch $100 million to $300 million.

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Information from: The Des Moines Register, https://www.desmoinesregister.com


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