Scientists have developed two new vaccines against the killer Ebola and Marburg viruses. In laboratory tests, the vaccines protected monkeys exposed to the viruses, which periodically infect people in Africa and cause hemorrhagic fevers marked by vomiting, diarrhea, shock, and organ shutdown. The report appears in the July Nature Medicine.
Researchers at the National Microbiology Laboratory of the Public Health Agency of Canada in Winnipeg, Manitoba, made the vaccines from a third, much less dangerous, virus that causes the livestock disease vesicular stomatitis. To make the vaccines, the researchers stripped the vesicular stomatitis virus of a particular gene and replaced it either with a gene that encodes a protein on the Marburg virus or with a gene for a protein on the Ebola virus.
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