By Stacey May
We are continuing our series of blog posts highlighting important and impactful work being presented at the 2014 AAPS Annual Meeting and Exposition. Today, we focus on a nasal vaccine in development by researchers at The University of Texas at Austin that has been shown to provide long-term protection for non-human primates against the deadly Ebola virus. Results from a small pre-clinical study represent the only proof to date that a single dose of a non-injectable vaccine platform for Ebola is long-lasting, which could have significant global implications in controlling future outbreaks.
The Ebola virus is an often fatal illness that is spread among the human population via direct contact with blood or bodily fluids from an infected individual. The current Ebola outbreak in Western Africa is the largest and most complex epidemic since the virus was first discovered in 1976, according to the World Health Organization. With a fatality rate currently as high as 70%, officials are declaring this outbreak a public health emergency of international concern.
Maria Croyle, a professor in the College of Pharmacy at The University of Texas at Austin, Kristina Jonsson-Schmunk, a graduate student in pharmacy, and other colleagues at the university developed a nasal formulation that improved survival of immunized non-human primates from 67% (2 out of 3) to 100% (3 out of 3) after challenge with 1,000 plaque forming units of Ebola Zaire 150 days after immunization. This is important since only 50% of the primates given the vaccine by the standard route (intramuscular injection) survived challenge.
The next stage of Croyle’s research is a phase 1 clinical trial that tests the effectiveness of their vaccine in human subjects. They will also further explore preliminary data they have collected for administration of the vaccine as a thin film under the tongue in non-human primates.
This blog post is adapted from the full press release.