Human tests of experimental Ebola vaccine set to start

U.S. agencies announce vaccination trials will begin in early September

BETTER DEFENSE  Human tests of an experimental vaccine against the fatal Ebola virus (shown in a false-color micrograph) are slated to begin in early September.

Frederick A. Murphy/CDC

The first of several planned human tests of experimental vaccines against the Ebola virus will begin in the first week of September, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases announced August 28. The early-stage trial will assess the safety of an investigational vaccine in 20 healthy adults. Working with GlaxoSmithKline, NIAID will launch a second round of tests for the candidate vaccine in October.

The National Institutes of Health is also working with British authorities to test the experimental vaccine in 60 healthy volunteers in Britain, 40 in Gambia and 40 in Mali, both in West Africa. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working with Nigerian authorities on a possible study of the experimental Ebola vaccine in healthy volunteers there. 

Meanwhile, NIH will work with the Department of Defense to test a second experimental vaccine developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada later this fall.

The current Ebola outbreak in West Africa has claimed more than 1,400 lives.

“The best way to prevent the spread of Ebola infection is through public health measures,” said NIAID Director Anthony Fauci. “A vaccine will ultimately be an important tool in the prevention effort.”

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