Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Vaccine Created To Protect Ebola-Ravaged Apes


By
Chioma Umeha
Scientists said Thursday they have developed a vaccine to shield endangered chimpanzees and gorillas against Ebola, which has wiped out tens of thousands of the wild apes in three decades.
The vaccine is given orally, the developers said, which means it could be disguised in food and left out for the animals to eat – easier and less traumatic than darting.
“Our closest relatives are being driven rapidly towards extinction by diseases like Ebola, by commercial bushmeat hunting and by habitat loss, and for a lot of this we are responsible,” said Peter Walsh of the University of Cambridge, who took part in the research.
“We now have this technology that can help save them, and there is a moral obligation that we should do it,” he told AFP.
In laboratory tests with ten chimpanzees, the vaccine – dubbed filorab1 – was shown to be safe and to generate “a robust immune response” to the Ebola virus, researchers reported in the journal Scientific Reports.
Walsh is now developing a system for putting the vaccine into bait that apes will eat in the wild. Only then can the vaccine be rolled out, to gorillas first and chimps later.
Ebola was first identified in what was then Zaire – now the Democratic Republic of Congo – in 1976.



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