EBOLA: First vaccine tests on humans in the US
The United States will be conducting their first human tests of an Ebola vaccine next week, to see if the product is suitable for human use. The worldwide endeavour to get an Ebola vaccine ready for the use of humans has been accelerated to contain an outbreak that is currently raging throughout West Africa.
The first US phase 1 Ebola vaccine trial will begin next week at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Centre in Bethesda, starting with three volunteers.
The product, named GSK/NIAID Ebola vaccine candidate, was made by Glaxo Smith Kline and US government scientists.
"We have the green light to begin," said Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID).
"The launch of phase 1 Ebola vaccine studies is a first step in developing a vaccine that could be licensed and used in the field to protect not only the front line healthcare workers but also those living in areas where Ebola virus exists."
The trial will mainly focus on the safety of the vaccine against two strains of the Ebola virus, one being the Sudan strain which is the one currently spreading through West Africa and the other the Zaire strain, which has seen two cases in the Democratic Republic of Congo in the past two weeks.
West Africa has seen the largest outbreak of Ebola in history. Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Nigeria have been infected with a death toll of 1552 people and over 3000 people becoming infected. There have also been unrelated cases of a different strain of Ebola in the DR Congo.
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