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July 14, 2015

Inhalable, needle-free Ebola vaccine to be tested on humans

A needle-free, inhalable vaccine for Ebola that has proven successful in tests on rhesus macaque monkeys is scheduled to be tested on humans in the next couple of months, Newsweek reports.

The vaccine was shown to provide a significant degree of protection from the virus for the monkeys, according to a study published Monday in The Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Human trials have been scheduled by the National Institutes of Health. Alexander Bukreyev, lead author of the study, said the aerosolized vaccine has advantages over those that are delivered with a needle because it is more easily administered.

Another significant problem such a product may circumvent: Many in Western Africa are reluctant to have medical workers stick a needle into them and inject them with a vaccine, says Robert Garry, a researcher at Tulane University. “This would get around that taboo, which is a pretty big deal,” says Garry, who wasn’t involved in the study.

An “aerosolized vaccine against the Ebola virus is much more practical in West Africa than any needle-required applications,” Dr. Igor Lukashevich, a researcher at the University of Louisville who also was not involved in the work, told Newsweek.

The vaccine, the first and only aerosolized vaccine to be developed, must pass several key tests.

Read more from Newsweek.

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