US To Start First Human Trials of Ebola Vaccine

ebola preventionAs announced on Thursday (August 28, 2014), the U.S. government will start initial human testing of an investigational vaccine next week to prevent infection of the Ebola virus that has taken lives of more than 1,500 people in West Africa.

The U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) said in a statement that the phase one clinical trial will determine if a vaccine, co-developed by the agency’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), is safe and induces an adequate immune response.

Testing will take place at the NIH’s clinical center in Bethesda, Maryland, with 20 healthy adults aged 18 to 50 years receiving an intramuscular injection of the vaccine, it further stated.

In parallel, the NIH and a British consortium, including the Wellcome Trust, will test the NIAID/GSK vaccine among healthy volunteers in the United Kingdom and in the West African countries of Gambia and Mali, the agency said.

The U.S. government is also discussing a trial of the vaccine in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country.

In response to the ongoing Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa, the pace of human safety testing for experimental Ebola vaccines has been expedited recently.

According to the World Health Organization, at least 1,552 suspected and confirmed deaths from Ebola infection have been reported in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone since the outbreak of the deadly virus was first reported in March 2014.

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