Ebola: background

What is Ebola?

The Ebola virus disease (EVD), is a severe, and often fatal, disease. 

The Ebola virus first emerged in 1976 with two simultaneous outbreaks in Nzara, Sudan and Yambuku, Democratic Republic of Congo, near tropical forests.

Ebola viruses belong to the Filoviridae family and cause Ebola Viral Disease (EVD), which can induce severe hemorrhagic fever in humans and non-human primates (NHPs).
Patients with EVD have a mortality rate ranging from 50% to 90% according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

How is it transmitted?

It’s transmitted from wild animals to people. It then spreads among humans via direct contact through broken skin or mucous membranes with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected people and with surfaces and materials (e.g. bedding, clothing) contaminated with these fluids.

www.who.int May 2015

What is the status of the current epidemic?

The current epidemic began in December 2013 in Guinea Conakry. It was declared an epidemic by the WHO in March 2014. On the 19th of April 2015, the WHO reported 26,079 cases and 10,823 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The current epidemic has affected both urban and rural areas.

www.who.int May 2015

What are the symptoms of Ebola?

The incubation period is 2 to 21 days. Initial symptoms include fever, fatigue, muscle, pain, headache and sore throat. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rash, symptoms of impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding. The average case fatality rate ranges from 25% to 90%. In the current epidemic, an average of 36% of cases are fatal. In Guinea, however, 60% of cases end in death, while in Liberia and Sierra Leone, the rate is 42% and 22% respectively.

What are the possible treatments for Ebola?

Supportive care-rehydration with oral or intravenous fluids- and treatment of specific symptoms, improves survival. There is as yet no proven treatment available for EVD. However, a range of potential treatments including blood products, immune therapies and drug therapies are currently being evaluated. No licensed vaccines are available yet, but potential vaccines are undergoing or will soon undergo human safety testing.

Is a vaccine available?

Currently, no licensed vaccine, specific treatment or cure exists for this disease. Development of a preventive vaccine against EVD would therefore satisfy an urgent unmet public health and medical need.

What is the approach for developing the Janssen Ebola vaccine regimen?

The monovalent vaccine based on adenovirus type 26 (Ad26) vector expressing the glycoprotein (GP) of the Ebola virus Mayinga variant (Ad26.ZEBOV) was developed by the Sponsor (Crucell Holland B.V., one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson), as well as the multivalent Modified Vaccinia Virus Ankara (MVA) strain containing ZEBOV, SEBOV, Marburg Virus GP and Tai Forest nucleoprotein inserts (MVA-BN®-Filo). These candidate vaccines will be used in a heterologous prime-boost vaccine regimen in which one vector is used to prime a filovirus-specific immune response and the other vector is used to boost the immune response 4 to 12 weeks later. The Crucell Holland B.V. program has been funded in whole or in part with direct Federal funds and preclinical services from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of National Institutes of Health (NIH), under Contract Numbers HHSN272200800056C, HHSN272201000006I, and HHSN272201200003I, respectively.



  • Ebola: background

    What is Ebola?

  • Phase 2 trials

    Find out more about EBOVAC2 trials

  • Work programme

    EBOVAC2 is organised into 6 workpackages (WP)

  • Ebola+ programme

    Contributes to efforts to tackle a wide range of challenges in Ebola research

This project has received funding from the Innovative Medicines Initiative 2 Joint Undertaking under grant agreement No. 115861.
This Joint Undertaking receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and EFPIA

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