New study shows that an experimental vaccine uses antibodies to help protect nonhuman animals against the deadly Ebola virus infection.

Ebola hemorrhagic fever causes an infection that can include shock, bleeding and organ failure with a fatality rate of 90 percent.

A news release from Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Hamilton provided some details of a published study. Scientists at the Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) and researchers at the National Institutes of Health, including the Rocky Mountain Laboratories, found that in an experimental vaccine, antibodies "induced by the vaccine appeared to be critical" in protection. The study was published in "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences" and showed that immune cells such as CD4+ and CD8+ cells were not as important in protection as the antibodies in the vaccine (which was composed of an attenuated vesicular stomatitis virus).

Scientists studied Macaque primates and how they responded to Ebola during treatment with the vaccine and in cases where there were lower levels of immune cells. Study will now focus on what levels of antibody protection are needed to possibly develop a human vaccine.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) operates a biolevel 4 lab on the Rocky Mountain Laboratories campus in Hamilton. Heinz Feldmann, M.D., Ph.D, is chief of RML's Laboratory of Virology and is one of the co-authors of the article.