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    Cultivating the Ebola Vaccine

    Cultivating the Ebola Vaccine

    Courtesy Photo | Image courtesy of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency's Chemical and Biological...... read more read more



    Courtesy Story

    Defense Threat Reduction Agency's Chemical and Biological Technologies Department

    Just as a fruit needs time to ripen, so a candidate vaccine needs time to progress to an approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). On December 19, 2019, the world’s first vaccine for Ebola virus disease, Ervebo, received FDA approval. The development and evaluation of Ervebo spanned several decades, beginning in 1976, and involved multiple organizations, including the Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s Chemical and Biological Technologies Department (DTRA CB). A few years before the 2019 approval, DTRA CB funded research in animal models that helped mature the vaccine. DTRA CB’s efforts ultimately enabled the vaccine to be used for compassionate purposes among West Africans at immediate risk of acquiring Ebola virus disease during the 2013–2016 outbreak.

    Once research established that Ervebo did not cause any harm to the animals tested and was safe to use in healthy people, DTRA CB collaborated with international agencies and arranged for the vaccine to be administered to people in West Africa. The vaccine was administered to more than 17,000 individuals, and data indicate that the vaccine is at least 97.5% effective in preventing Ebola virus disease, a Category A biological warfare agent.

    Since 1976, Ebola virus disease has killed more than 14,000 people around the world.1 Through funding, collaboration with government agencies and the commercial industry — and a commitment to keeping the warfighter safe from deadly diseases — DTRA CB prepared a vaccine candidate for Ebola and enabled its transition from animal studies to human clinical trials. FDA’s approval of this vaccine for one of the world’s deadliest viruses represents a significant accomplishment in countering a biological threat agent. Ervebo symbolizes DTRA CB’s persistence to collaborate and innovate to keep warfighters and the public safe from biological threat agents.

    1. Jacob ST, Crozier I, Fischer II WA, et al. 2020. Ebola virus disease. Nat Rev Dis Primers. 6(13).

    POC: John C. Trefry,



    Date Taken: 06.15.2020
    Date Posted: 06.16.2020 11:42
    Story ID: 372216
    Location: FORT BELVOIR, VA, US 

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