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Ebola vaccine shows promise for saving apes

Captive chimpanzees given a vaccine that contains a viruslike particle rather than the live virus still developed antibodies against Ebola. This type of vaccination could be one way to save wild, endangered apes, the researchers suggest.

Captive chimpanzees given a vaccine that contains a viruslike particle rather than the live virus still developed antibodies against Ebola. This type of vaccination could be one way to save wild, endangered apes, the researchers suggest.

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Ebola and other infectious diseases threaten not only humans but also critically endangered gorillas and endangered chimpanzees. Results of a clinical trial suggest that vaccinations could protect wild apes from infectious diseases, including ones passed on from humans.

When exposed to viruslike Ebola particles rather than the live, infectious virus, captive chimpanzees developed antibodies against the virus, researchers report May 26 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The vaccination technique may require multiple doses to reach full potency but could be effective if given to wild apes, the researchers note. The team also argues that the results support the need for continued research on captive chimpanzees for conservation.

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