The Vesicular Stomatitis Virus-Based Ebola Virus Vaccine: From Concept to Clinical Trials

Hum Vaccin Immunother. 2018;14(9):2107-2113. doi: 10.1080/21645515.2018.1473698. Epub 2018 Jun 18.


The devastating Ebola virus (EBOV) epidemic in West Africa in 2013-2016 accelerated the progress of several vaccines and antivirals through clinical trials, including the replication-competent vesicular stomatitis virus-based vaccine expressing the EBOV glycoprotein (VSV-EBOV). Extensive preclinical testing in animal models demonstrated the prophylactic and post-exposure efficacy of this vaccine, identified the mechanism of protection, and suggested it was safe for human use. Based on these data, VSV-EBOV was extensively tested in phase 1-3 clinical trials in North America, Europe and Africa. Although some side effects of vaccination were observed, these clinical trials showed that the VSV-EBOV was safe and immunogenic in humans. Moreover, the data supported the use of VSV-EBOV as an emergency vaccine in individuals at risk for Ebola virus disease. In this review, we summarize the results of the extensive preclinical and clinical testing of the VSV-EBOV vaccine.

Keywords: VSV-EBOV; animal models; clinical trials; filovirus; phase 1; phase 2; phase 3; preclinical testing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Drug Carriers*
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions / epidemiology
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions / pathology
  • Ebola Vaccines / administration & dosage
  • Ebola Vaccines / genetics
  • Ebola Vaccines / immunology*
  • Ebola Vaccines / isolation & purification*
  • Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Vaccines, Attenuated / administration & dosage
  • Vaccines, Attenuated / genetics
  • Vaccines, Attenuated / immunology
  • Vaccines, Attenuated / isolation & purification
  • Vaccines, Synthetic / administration & dosage
  • Vaccines, Synthetic / genetics
  • Vaccines, Synthetic / immunology
  • Vaccines, Synthetic / isolation & purification
  • Vesiculovirus / genetics*


  • Drug Carriers
  • Ebola Vaccines
  • Vaccines, Attenuated
  • Vaccines, Synthetic

Grant support

This work is supported by the Intramural Research Program, NIAID, NIH.