Introduction: Ebolaviruses cause severe viral hemorrhagic fever in humans and non-human primates (NHPs), with case fatality rates of up to 90%. Currently, neither a specific treatment nor a vaccine licensed for use in humans is available. However, a number of vaccine candidates have been developed in the last decade that are highly protective in NHPs, the gold standard animal model for ebola hemorrhagic fever.
Areas covered: This review analyzes a number of scenarios for the use of ebolavirus vaccines, discusses the requirements for ebolavirus vaccines in these scenarios and describes current ebolavirus vaccines. Among these vaccines are recombinant adenoviruses, recombinant vesicular stomatitis viruses (VSVs), recombinant human parainfluenza viruses and virus-like particles. Interestingly, one of these vaccine platforms, based on recombinant VSVs, has also demonstrated post-exposure protection in NHPs.
Expert opinion: The most pressing remaining challenge is now to move these vaccine candidates forward into human trials and toward licensure. In order to achieve this, it will be necessary to establish the mechanisms and correlates of protection for these vaccines, and to continue to demonstrate their safety, particularly in potentially immunocompromised populations. However, already now there is sufficient evidence that, from a scientific perspective, a vaccine protective against ebolaviruses is possible.