Investigational Aerosolized Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise in Nonhuman Primates

July 13, 2015
​An experimental aerosolized (inhalable) vaccine fully protected nonhuman primates against Ebola virus disease, according to new findings published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation. Aerosolized vaccines are delivered using a nebulizer, a device that transforms liquid into a mist that can be inhaled into the lungs. This type of noninvasive, needle-free vaccine may offer certain advantages for populations in remote areas. The study, conducted in part by scientists from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, is the first published test of aerosol delivery for an Ebola virus vaccine.


The scientists tested the immunogenicity and protective efficacy of an aerosolized form of the candidate Ebola vaccine HPIV3/EboGP, which is based on human parainfluenza virus type 3. The parainfluenza virus is used as a weakened, replicating viral vector, or carrier, to deliver Ebola genetic material designed to stimulate a protective immune response against Ebola virus. The researchers vaccinated rhesus macaques with aerosolized HPIV3/EboGP, and found the vaccine induced a robust immune response in the monkeys. Additionally, the scientists detected neutralizing antibodies in serum and respiratory tract samples as well as infection-fighting T cells in lung tissue and blood samples.

The study also revealed that one aerosolized dose of HPIV3/EboGP protected all four rhesus macaques exposed to Zaire Ebolavirus, the species responsible for the current outbreak in West Africa.Together, these findings provide the basis for advancing the experimental vaccine into clinical trials, according to the authors. Scientists at the University of Texas Medical Branch and the United States Army Institute for Infectious Diseases also collaborated on this research, which was supported by the NIAID Division of Intramural Research and NIAID grants 1R01AI102887-01A1 and 5U54AI057156-10.

M Meyer, T Garron et al. Aerosolized Ebola Vaccine Protects Primates and Elicits Lung-Resident T-cell Responses. The Journal of Clinical Investigation DOI: 10.1172/JCI81532 (2015)

NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., is available to comment on this research. Peter Collins, Ph.D., chief of the RNA Viruses Section in NIAID's Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, is a co-author on the paper and is also available for comment.


Content last reviewed on July 13, 2015