Houston Matters

Galveston Researcher’s Experimental Ebola Vaccine Is Saving Lives In Africa

Dr. Thomas Geisbert of UTMB tells Houston Matters what it takes to develop a new vaccine, how this one is being used in the Congo, and what it could mean for future treatment of the disease.

Thomas Geisbert, Ph.D., of UTMB, helped develop the vaccine currently being used to fight Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

A new Ebola outbreak is underway in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. As of June 17, there have been at least 38 confirmed cases and 28 deaths, according to the World Health Organization.

In May, the WHO began distributing more than 7,500 doses of an experimental Ebola vaccine there. It’s the first time an Ebola vaccine has been used at the start of an outbreak.

Dr. Thomas Geisbert helped create the vaccine, named rVSV-ZEBOV. Geisbert is a professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB). He’s been working on Ebola vaccines for some 30 years.

In the audio above, Dr. Geisbert tells Houston Matters  producer Michael Hagerty what it takes to develop a new vaccine, how this one is being used in the Congo, and what it could mean for future treatment of the disease.

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