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Daily News on Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Weapons, Terrorism and Related Issues

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Ebola Vaccine Effective in Monkeys, Study Finds

A federally supported animal trial has shown several experimental Ebola vaccines to provide some immunity to the potential bioterrorism agent, and one variant to confer "100 percent" protection in initial testing, Global Biodefense reported on Tuesday.

All three developmental vaccinations also offered an immune response to rabies, a feature that could "address concerns for the marketability" of a finished vaccine, according to authors of the study published in May.

Scientists at Thomas Jefferson University in Pennsylvania divided 15 rhesus macaques into four groups, each of which received either a placebo or one of the experimental vaccines. Exposure to Ebola took place at a secured laboratory operated by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

"Our live replication-competent vaccine provided 100 percent protection" against Ebola, while the "replication-deficient and inactivated candidates provided 50 percent protection," according to a summary of the findings. The scientists said they ultimately want humans to be able to receive complete protection against Ebola from an "inactivated" vaccine, which would give immunity using virus samples that are dead and therefore safer.

Meanwhile, a New York biotechnology company has delivered a third batch of its controversial smallpox treatment to the Strategic National Stockpile of medical countermeasures. The shipment brings to 590,000 the total number of Arestvyr courses transferred to the U.S. government, and it makes SIGA Technologies eligible to receive $79 million in fees, the firm said in a statement on Tuesday.

The Health and Human Services Department has requested two million sets of the drug, the Corvallis Gazette-Times reported on Wednesday.

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