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First human trial for experimental Marburg virus vaccine reports success

Date: 30.1.2023 

Promising results have been published from the first human trial testing an experimental vaccine targeting the deadly Marburg virus. Flagged as a potential pandemic-causing virus, this is the first Marburg vaccine to move into Phase 2 human trials.

Kredit: Tom Geisbert, University of Texas Medical Branch.Coming from the same Filoviridae family of viruses as Ebola, Marburg is just as deadly as its better-known cousin, albeit slightly less virulent. The virus first emerged in 1967, with a handful of outbreaks in Europe causing a deadly hemorrhagic disease. Subsequent genomic studies traced its origins back to Uganda and Kenya.

Unlike Ebola, which has both monoclonal antibody treatments and an effective vaccine, there are no approved therapies or vaccines for Marburg virus disease. This has led global vaccine charity Gavi to identify Marburg as a major future pandemic concern.

This new Marburg vaccine, dubbed (cAd3-Marburg), uses an adenovirus vector to deliver a Marburg glycoprotein. Primate studies published last year showed a single dose of the vaccine generated a protective immune response in animals lasting up to one year.

A recent Phase 1 human trial enrolled 40 healthy adults to receive the experimental vaccine. The cohort showed the vaccine was well-tolerated with no serious adverse effects. Significant immune responses were also detected in 95% of subjects, persisting in 70% across the entire 48-week follow-up period.

The US government has recently invested several million dollars in moving this Marburg vaccine research forward. Subsequent human trials are now being planned in Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, and the United States.

Image source: Tom Geisbert, University of Texas Medical Branch.





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