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Experimental Ebola vaccine offers '100 percent protection' in final tests

After years of trying, scientists may have finally developed an effective Ebola vaccine. Final tests of an experimental treatment conducted in Guinea, a West African country hit particularly hard by the deadly virus, indicate scientists may be close to perfecting an inoculation against the disease.

The vaccine offers "100 percent protection," results published Thursday in The Lancet medical journal revealed. Of "nearly 6,000 people receiving the vaccine, all were free of the virus 10 days later," BBC reported, though the treatment only protects against the Zaire strain of Ebola, which is the deadliest. The immunization has yet to receive regulatory approval, but The New York Times reported "it is considered so effective that an emergency stockpile of 300,000 doses has already been created."

The Ebola epidemic in Africa in 2014 killed over 11,000 people, prompting the World Health Organization to lead the efforts to develop a vaccine. Though other vaccines are being studied, Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny, WHO assistant director-general and the study's lead author, said this immunization could make it that much easier to stop the rapid spread of the highly contagious disease. "When the next Ebola outbreak hits," Kieny said, "we will not be defenseless."