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Ebola Nose Spray Vaccine Protects Monkeys 198

First time accepted submitter GeekyKhan writes A new needle-free vaccine has proven to be 100% effective at stopping the transmission of Ebola in monkeys, and it could spell a breakthrough in the battle against the disease. The vaccine is administered through a nasal spray using a common cold virus genetically engineered to carry Ebola DNA. From NBC: "The vaccine uses a common cold virus genetically engineered to carry a tiny piece of Ebola DNA. Sprayed up the nose, it saved all nine monkeys tested for infection. But now the research is dead in the water without funding, Maria Croyle of the University of Texas at Austin’s College of Pharmacy said. 'Now we are at the crossroads, trying to figure out where to get the funding and resources to continue,' Croyle told NBC News."
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Ebola Nose Spray Vaccine Protects Monkeys

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  • Where is (Score:5, Funny)

    by Bin_jammin ( 684517 ) <Binjammin@gmail.com> on Wednesday November 05, 2014 @02:47PM (#48320155)
    Jenny McCarthy to protest this? After all, who can really care for all those poor autistic monkeys this will create?
    • by NoKaOi ( 1415755 )

      And the vaccine contains GMOs!

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by aliquis ( 678370 )

        And the vaccine contains GMOs!

        ALSO IT'S A VACCINE!!

        I don't trust science, I trust God! Theref<fell dead on the keyboard>

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by aliquis ( 678370 )

          ... <resurrected - haha!>

          What I really meant was:
          * I don't trust science! I trust God and conspiracy theories on the Internet! The bolder and #ff0000 text and the more apocalyptic video the better!

          They for sure are more trustworthy than the peer-reviewed content of scientific journals and work of researchers at universities! .. the Bible and the Quran tell us all we need to know!

    • Actual discussion:
      Parent "I want #Ebola vaccine for my child"
      Doc "There isn't one, but we have #flushot"
      Parent "We don't believe in that"

      https://twitter.com/AllergyKid... [twitter.com]

  • Technicalities (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Translation Error ( 1176675 ) on Wednesday November 05, 2014 @02:48PM (#48320163)

    The vaccine uses a common cold virus genetically engineered to carry a tiny piece of Ebola DNA. Sprayed up the nose, it saved all nine monkeys tested for infection.

    Saved? I can believe that none of the vaccinated monkeys caught Ebola, but I'd hardly call that 'saving' them. I'd also think calling a vaccine 100% effective is a bit premature with only nine test subjects.

    • For a sample size of 9, it's 100% effective.

      As with all statistics, the devil is in the details. :-P

      • As with all statistics, the devil is in the details. :-P

        ... and one of the most important details was left out: What is the infection rate in the absence of the vaccine? If it was 100%, and the vaccine prevented it, then it is 100% effective with 0% margin of error. If the infection rate would have been 50%, then it is still effective with (1-1/512) = 99.5% certainty. It is not clear if a control group was used in this study. TFA made it sound like there was not. So the positive result could have been because of some experimental error like dead ebola, tha

    • Re:Technicalities (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cdrudge ( 68377 ) on Wednesday November 05, 2014 @03:03PM (#48320269) Homepage

      If the infection rate prior to being immunized was 100%, I'd say 9 of 9 not being infected is pretty fricking huge for something that kills 1/2 the people that catch it and no other known immunization technique.

      • by Kurast ( 1662819 )

        For a population size of 6 billion, confidence interval of 95%, expected mean distribution of 50% (most conservative) of infection ratio, a sample size of 9 gives us a margin of error of 32% (try yourself: http://www.raosoft.com/samples... [raosoft.com])
        Given 100% efficacy, it is highly significant, well outside the margin of error.
        Is is significant even for 98% confidence.

        • For a population size of 6 billion, confidence interval of 95%, expected mean distribution of 50% (most conservative) of infection ratio, a sample size of 9 gives us a margin of error of 32% (try yourself: http://www.raosoft.com/samples... [raosoft.com])
          Given 100% efficacy, it is highly significant, well outside the margin of error.
          Is is significant even for 98% confidence.

          It doesn't work that way. The population size was 9. You're only right if those 9 were pulled from random from the current
          human population but that's not what happened. They were all exposed. It would take a rediculous amount of trials if all results
          had to be divided by 6 billion (or whatever the current population happens to be). That's like saying a bug spray that killed all 10k
          mosquitos might not work because there are 10 trillion mosquitos in the world so your sample size is too small. I agree tha

      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        by Chalnoth ( 1334923 )

        It is generally true that such studies should be considered preliminary. It's possible that this vaccine won't work for humans, or that the ebola virus will evolve around the vaccine so rapidly that it has no impact.

        But clearly this sounds like a very promising start, and the researchers absolutely deserve to have more funding to finish their work. This is exactly the kind of thing that the NIH is designed to fund. But, due to Republican fuckery, NIH funding has been cut.

    • Now you have Ebola resistant monkeys, with Ebola DNA in them swinging around in trees and sneezing on you.

      What could possibly go wrong with crossing Ebola with the common cold.

      Sure hope the vaccine works, because you are going to NEED it soon.
    • by Nikademus ( 631739 ) * <renaud AT allard DOT it> on Wednesday November 05, 2014 @05:01PM (#48321247) Homepage

      That's true, it's know that you need 12 monkeys when a virus outbreak is there. :)

  • by Crashmarik ( 635988 ) on Wednesday November 05, 2014 @02:52PM (#48320203)

    without a needle

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J... [wikipedia.org]

    Seems if needleless vaccination is your goal, this would be the way to go. Speaking as someone who got a flu shot from one of these it's a pretty painless experience.

    • without a needle

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J... [wikipedia.org]

      Seems if needleless vaccination is your goal, this would be the way to go. Speaking as someone who got a flu shot from one of these it's a pretty painless experience.

      Uh, those things aren't supposed to be used for vaccines. Read your own link. There's a risk of transmission from patient to patient.

      • by mysidia ( 191772 )

        They are for vaccines, but their use in medicine is no longer recommended due to cross-contamination risks.

        If they're indeed painless however; the risk might be low enough that it's a worthwhile tradeoff, in case it means more people will opt for the vaccine.

        Needles may be safer, but fewer people may get vaccinated due to perceived pain that will be required.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Those jet injectors are not painless. I was shot with those evil devices many times during boot camp back in the early 70's. They'd line us up and march us between rows of orderlies who would pop us in both arms simultaneously. It sucked, I'll take needles, thank you.
    • by cdrudge ( 68377 )

      From your link:

      Because the jet injector breaks the barrier of the skin, there is a potential that biological material is transferred from one user to the next. Some infectious viruses such as hepatitis B can be transmitted by less than one millionth of a millilitre[6] so makers of injectors need to ensure there is no cross-contamination between applications. The World Health Organization no longer recommends jet injectors for vaccination due to risks of disease transmission.

      A breathable mist is even easier

      • by rioki ( 1328185 )

        Except that in this case, if I understand correctly, you get the flue. Granted the flu is better than ebola, but this vaccine is not side effect free. It makes sense to administer it to people heading into the affected regions, but not a general purpose vaccine.

    • by Andy Dodd ( 701 )

      "Seems if needleless vaccination is your goal, this would be the way to go."

      Did you even read the article you linked???

  • Not to worry! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Xyrus ( 755017 ) on Wednesday November 05, 2014 @02:53PM (#48320213) Journal

    With the republicans in charge, you won't be the only scientific group that doesn't have any funding! You'll have lots of company.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      With the republicans in charge, you won't be the only scientific group that doesn't have any funding! You'll have lots of company.

      Hillarious... but seriously... There is no difference between republicans and democrats:
      http://www.scientificamerican.... [scientificamerican.com]

      So stop pretending there is.

      • Re:Not to worry! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by i kan reed ( 749298 ) on Wednesday November 05, 2014 @03:16PM (#48320361) Homepage Journal

        You're citing the cuts the republicans forced by threatening legislative innaction that would recrash the economy as evidence that Obama is complicit in anti-science behaviors?

        I mean, there's lots Obama has done, hasn't done, but the shit the republicans intentionally caused by threatening criminally irresponsible negligence as a condition of obeying their legislative agenda isn't "his".

        • by rcamans ( 252182 )

          Obama took much of the vaccine development money and redirected it to useless bs years ago. This had nothing to do with the Repubs.

        • You're citing the cuts the republicans forced by threatening legislative innaction that would recrash the economy as evidence that Obama is complicit in anti-science behaviors?

          I mean, there's lots Obama has done, hasn't done, but the shit the republicans intentionally caused by threatening criminally irresponsible negligence as a condition of obeying their legislative agenda isn't "his".

          Seriously? wtf? Do you have any idea how the budget process works? and who the hell is modding you up?
          This is the presidential budget proposal.
          Read: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2... [wikipedia.org]
          The president writes, whatever he wants, and sends it over to congress. He does not need their input or approval. This is the budget he's suggesting congress should consider. Several budgets are sent to congress by several departments of government. None have any legal bearing on what congress will pass. But obviously the presid

      • Your link has nothing to do with what you claim.
        Posted the wrong link?

        I down modded you before ad off topic but as I undid it by posting (anonymously even) I thought I answer instead.

        • So there's a claim that republicans cut spending for science, and I link to the democratic presidents current budget proposal, that keeps funding at that very same rate (a cut if you consider inflation), and you think that's not relevant?

    • Pharmaceutical companies have no need or right to even $1 of government funding. Engineering vaccines is not fast or cheap. But the pharmaceutical companies do have a lengthy patent exclusivity to ensure they can recoup the R&D expenses and make a handsome profit before generics hit the market. The government has already allowed new Ebola drugs to be used even though the drugs have not finished human trials or completed the extensive process to certify the drugs.

      The perceived panic about Ebola is blown

    • Forgot already that George Bush issued an unheard of $8 billion in AIDS research for Africa, did we?

      http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/po... [go.com]

  • Money (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fustakrakich ( 1673220 ) on Wednesday November 05, 2014 @02:56PM (#48320225) Journal

    God forbid that Wall Street cough up any of that free government money it got over the last 6 years.. No, no, we should never demand that. That would be communism!

  • Apparently as a layman I have no understanding of the dangers, or lack thereof, of viral payloads genetically engineered into bacterium as on the face of it that sounds ridiculously dangerous.
    • Re:This is safe? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Russ1642 ( 1087959 ) on Wednesday November 05, 2014 @03:17PM (#48320369)

      Science doesn't care what sounds scary to you.

    • Re:This is safe? (Score:5, Informative)

      by reve_etrange ( 2377702 ) on Wednesday November 05, 2014 @03:53PM (#48320665)

      I have no understanding of the dangers, or lack thereof, of viral payloads

      Indeed. You see, biological information is partitioned into units called "genes," which are responsible for individual functions. A "viral payload" consists of the entire viral genome, usually containing at least several thousand genes. Here, just one (or perhaps a few) viral genes have been selected because they code for proteins which the immune system can use to identify infected cells.

      There is no danger in making a weakened cold virus (you simply invented the connection to bacteria) which contains these ebola-infected-cell-identifying genes. None of the genes which make ebola dangerous are present. The modified cold virus trains the immune system to kill cells which look like they have ebola. If ebola itself shows up later on, the vaccinated immune system is already prepared to identify and kill infected cells.

      • Vaccination does not train the immune system to kill infected cells.
        It trains it to craft antibodies to attack the virus directly.
        The rest of your post however is more or less correct and insightful/informative.

        • For the most part, antibodies bind to pathogens and signal macrophages or the complement system to attack the antibody-tagged pathogens. The closest they come to "directly attacking" anything is to sometimes coat pathogens to such an extent that they can't infect or damage cells. Leaving out the details of how the immune system identifies pathogens (by generating antibodies with specific binding properties) was a (intentional) simplification to be sure, but basically correct nevertheless.
      • Sure, I knew all that. I'm just unaware of how likely things like genetic transcription errors, possible mistakes by the researcher, contamination issues and other process problems could result in things going not as planned. Is this so safe any grad student could do it in their garage or more on the level of this should only be done in a level four biohazard facility in the Arctic?
        • I believe you need special facilities and approval to work with 'live' ebola, but for something like this I think you can just order the actual sequences you need - which again probably just code for some otherwise harmless cell surface signal - and avoid ever having actual ebola on hand.
          • Sorry, of course one needs complete ebola virus as well as secure animal testing facilities in order to conduct the monkey trials component of the vaccine development. A "grad student could do it in their garage" only if they guessed the exact sequences needed on the first try - but then I don't know how they would test it. In general you need Level 4 biocontainment [wikipedia.org] to work with ebola. Turns out the University of Texas has more than one such facility.
      • by rcamans ( 252182 )

        We do not know what makes the ebola virus dangerous. Most of the genes in it are completely NOT understood.
        Ebola is a very small virus, relatively speaking.
        Ebola's methods are not understood.
        Fortunately, you do not have to know or understand the virus to make a vaccine.

      • ...trains the immune system to kill cells which look like they have ebola.

        So, the solution to Ebola involves profiling? Geez. /s

    • There is no viral payload genetically engineered into a bacterium.
      Go read a book!

      • I went back and re-read the summary, and you're right it's engineered into a virus not a bacterium. I'm not sure that really changes my question much but consider me corrected.
  • Well, (Score:3, Interesting)

    by waspleg ( 316038 ) on Wednesday November 05, 2014 @03:10PM (#48320313) Journal

    Obama wants 6.2 billion to combat Ebola [chicagotribune.com] I doubt he'll get it after last night, but if he does, maybe some of that will go to research?

  • by thoriumbr ( 1152281 ) on Wednesday November 05, 2014 @03:17PM (#48320375) Homepage
    A very mutable virus paired with a lethal one. Used in a spray. Ok, go ahead.
    • Would it really kill you to at least read up on a subject before engaging in the frivolous fear-mongering? Guess so.
    • There are not two viruses paired.
      A weakened virus got a few pieces of DNA from another virus added. Like putting cream on top of a couple of ice boules ...

  • It's great news.

  • So, for you proponents of the privatization or everything, what do we do in this (hypothetical) scenario?

    Deadly virus starts very slowly over years in third world country where there is no money to be made by creating a vaccine. Years later, virus starts spreading through the entire world at an alarming rate, killing all infected within 5 hours of contracting the disease, which spreads as easy as measles, at which point it's too late to develop a vaccine.

    (My point being, a government funded research la
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Oh come on. That's easy. The free market would solve this problem by selling hazmat suits, hermetically-sealed penthouse apartments, and lots and lots of guns and canned goods. Just like any decent zombie movie, the people who can afford this stuff will survive, and the people who can't won't. Problem solved once the latter people die off and stop transmitting the disease. Then the people who can manage things for themselves rather than accepting government vaccine handouts can go back to business as u

  • The National Institutes of Health (NIH) just announced that it will be spending $31 million to "enhance diversity in the biomedical research workforce."

    $31 million seem like it would buy ... a lot of diversity ... I guess.

    Maybe some of the money could be diverted toward actual research like this.

    lllll AJ

  • by jpellino ( 202698 ) on Wednesday November 05, 2014 @03:54PM (#48320669)
    Simpler admin, less risk of infection. Wicked fast development.
  • Kickstarter (Score:5, Funny)

    by Rick Richardson ( 87058 ) on Wednesday November 05, 2014 @04:04PM (#48320769) Homepage
    https://www.kickstarter.com/
  • by cslewis2007 ( 1120851 ) on Wednesday November 05, 2014 @04:06PM (#48320797)
    Just saying. If the source article gets that fundamental fact wrong, what can we take away from the rest of it. Were they really monkeys?
  • Aren't it supposed to be twelve monkeys?

  • This world is twisted enough to make me wonder if some corporations have not figured out a way to make money fighting Ebola. I would think that the governments of every nation would jump to get this life saving substance into mass production.
  • There are currently five known variants of Ebola. One affects monkeys, the other four affect humans. Humans do not catch the monkey variant (Ebola Reston).
    Chimps and Gorillas (Great apes?) do catch Ebola, and get wiped out by it.
    So making a vaccine against monkey Ebola may do humans no good at all.
    Ebola-Zaire, Ebola-Sudan, Ebola-Côte d'Ivoire, Ebola-Reston, and Ebola-Bundibugyo are the variants currently known.
    More bad news, Ebola mutates very quickly. All variants appear to have evolved from an origin

  • Scientists have developed vaccine against Ebola that is 100% effective in trials.
    They did this by genetically engineering in the genes from the common cold.

    The common cold, one of the most infectious and easily spread diseases.

    Ebola, one of the most lethal and devestating diseases known to mankind.

    What could possibly go wrong?

  • Well, that funding is doomed.

    After all, science flies in the face of the elected party's platform, or at least one plank [washingtonpost.com], albeit a critical one.

  • Obviously, if no one is coming forward with money, it must be a conspiracy.

  • funny that, when I think the biggest concern about Ebola was that it would become airborne, turns out we are *making* it so!

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