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Siberian scientists wrap up Ebola vaccine trials

Specialists at the Novosibirsk State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology VECTOR have completed trials of a vaccine against the Ebola virus disease, which claimed the lives of over 11,000 people in Africa recently, said Nikolai Krasnikov, Head of the Administration of Koltsovo Science City near Novosibirsk where the research center is located, at the TASS press center on Friday.

"Our scientists have wrapped up clinical trials of the Ebola vaccine this year. Now it is ready for use," he announced.

The World Health Organization describes the Ebola virus disease (EVD, formerly known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever) as "a severe, often fatal illness in humans. EVD outbreaks have a case fatality rate of up to 90%." Symptoms include a sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, a headache and a sore throat. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhea, a rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding. The infection is transmitted by direct contact with the blood, body fluids and the tissues of infected animals or people. The incubation period lasts from two to 21 days.

The virus was first registered in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) in 1976, with outbreaks reported from Sudan, Gabon, the Republic of the Congo, Angola, and Cote d’Ivoire. The latest Ebola epidemics in West Africa in 2014-2016 killed more than 11,300 people, with more than 28,600 contracting the disease. The most lethal outcomes were reported in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Russian doctors and scientists have played an important role in fighting Ebola. In 2017, reports said that an Ebola vaccine had been developed by the Novosibirsk-based VECTOR Research Center.

Founded in 1974, VECTOR is one of the world’s largest research centers. Initially, it studied the causative agents of such deadly disease as anthrax and tularemia to create biological weapons based on them. Currently, the center develops tools for diagnosing and treating infectious diseases. Its specialists, in particular, are developing vaccines against swine flu, HIV and Ebola.

[Source: Itar Tass, Novosibirsk, 01Feb19]

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