The Ebola vaccine trial in Africa shows promising initial results, according to a report in the Lancet medical journal.
Scientists say it is a crucial step as other vaccines have shown lower levels of protection in African populations.
Tests involving Ugandan and American volunteers reveal the vaccine is so far safe and generates an immune response in both populations.
It provides reassurance for other trials currently underway, they say.
The Ebola virus has killed more than 6,900 people in the worst-affected countries of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.
No proven vaccine exists to prevent people from getting the disease, though several trials are underway.
The aim of a successful vaccine is to train the immune systems of healthy people to produce antibodies – proteins capable of fighting off any future infections.
Researchers from the National Institutes of Health tested this experimental vaccine on healthy adults in Uganda, having first trialed it in the US.
Dr. Julie Ledgerwood, the lead researcher, said: “This is the first study to show comparable safety and immune response of an experimental Ebola vaccine in an African population.
“This is particularly encouraging because those at greatest risk of Ebola live primarily in Africa and diminished vaccine protection in African populations has been seen for other diseases.”
According to the study some 57% of people in Uganda who received the Ebola vaccine alone developed antibodies against Ebola in their blood.
However, further tests would be needed to see if the antibodies are strong enough and long-lasting enough to provide adequate protection against the disease.
Liberia is voting in an election that was postponed in October because of the Ebola outbreak.
Liberians are choosing representatives to the country’s senate.
Among the 139 candidates vying for 15 seats are former football star George Weah and Robert Sirleaf, the son of Liberia’s president.
Ebola has infected about 19,000 people in West Africa, killing more than 7,373 – with 3,346 deaths in Liberia, according to the latest UN figures.
The senate elections were postponed in October in a bid to stop campaigners and voters spreading the virus.
The election is being held just days after neighboring Sierra Leone clamped down on public gatherings.
It has banned Sunday trading, restricted travel between districts and prohibited public celebrations over Christmas and the New Year.
One of Sierra Leone’s top doctors, Victor Willoughby, died from Ebola on Thursday, just hours after the arrival of experimental drug ZMab which could have been used to treat him.
Healthcare workers are among those most at risk of catching Ebola which is spread by bodily fluids and requires close contact with victims.
In November, Liberia’s election commission chairman, Jerome Korkoya, urged candidates and supporters to follow public health regulations in the run-up to the senate elections.
“For instance, the transportation of large groups of electorates by candidates clustered in vehicles and the congregation of huge number of people will be regulated,” he said in a statement.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was in Liberia on Friday at the start of a two-day visit to countries affected by Ebola in West Africa. He continued on to Guinea on Saturday.
After stepping off the plane, he washed his hands and had his temperature taken – two important practices to help stop the spread of the disease.
Ban Ki-moon urged people to follow strict health regulations until the epidemic was over.
Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf lifted a state of emergency last month that was imposed in August to control the outbreak.
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