New Ebola vaccine trial begins

Ebola

New vaccine trial for protection against the Ebola Virus Disease, EVD, has begun at Oxford University, United Kingdom, after initial tests on monkeys.

The latest trial involves immunisation of 72 healthy adult volunteers by scientists at the university.

According to information provided by the US National Institute of Health on its website, initial tests on monkeys showed the vaccine, developed by Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson and Johnson, gives complete protection against Ebola.

Different regimens combining the vaccine components will be studied in 72 healthy adult volunteers aged 18-50, who are the first humans to receive the vaccine, according to Alex Gorsky, chairman and CEO of Johnson & Johnson, in a statement on the company’s website.

Matthew Snape, from the Oxford Vaccine Group, part of the University Of Oxford Department Of Paediatrics, said: “We aim to immunise all participants within a month.

“The main aim is to understand the safety profile of the vaccines”. He said the vaccine cannot cause anyone to be infected with Ebola.

After the initial injection, the volunteers will receive an additional booster dose one or two months after, the US National Institute of Health said.

The first dose is designed to prime the immune system while the second booster dose is to enhance the immune response.

The two doses contain different components, but both include genes for a protein from the Zaire strain of the Ebola virus.

Reports say additional clinical trials will also get underway in the US and three African countries unaffected by Ebola.

The immune response the vaccine generates – both antibodies and T cells – will be measured over the course of a year.

Meanwhile, there is hope that Ebola ravaged African countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea will have the vaccine available by the middle of the year, as Johnson and Johnson said it hoped to begin, within three months, a larger Phase 2 trial in Africa and Europe. Johnson andJohnson says within three months the vaccine will then be available for use in African countries.

October 22 last year, Johnson & Johnson announced it was committing up to $200 million to accelerate and significantly expand production of an experimental Ebola vaccine program being developed at its Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies division.


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