Ebola Vaccine to Get Human Trial for the First Time

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Sept. 1 2014 4:33 PM

Ebola Vaccine to Get Human Trial for the First Time

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Ebola vaccine set for first human trial.

Photo by David Silverman/Getty Images

As the race continues to stop the outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa, a new Ebola vaccine is set to begin a human trial for the first time this week. The vaccine, which is being developed by the NIH along with pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline, and has “performed extremely well” in primate studies, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, told ABC News.

The trial comes as the World Health Organization warned last week the Ebola outbreak could infect as many as 20,000 people. It’s unclear if the vaccine will be ready in time to help combat the current outbreak, but the timetable is being sped up in case the trials are successful. According to ABC News, “although [NIH’s] Fauci said in July that it would take until late 2015 for a vaccine -- if successful -- to be administered to a limited number of health workers, GlaxoSmithKline said in a statement that the grant will also enable it to manufacture 10,000 doses of the vaccine while the trials are ongoing. If the vaccine trials are successful, it will be able to make stocks available immediately to the World Health Organization.”

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Here’s more on the upcoming trial from ABC News:

The phase 1 clinical trial set to begin this week at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, will involve 20 human subjects between the ages of 18 and 50, according to the NIH. Researchers will use the study to determine whether the vaccine is safe and see whether it prompts an immune response necessary to protect against Ebola. No human subjects will be infected with Ebola. A $4.7 million grant will also go toward Ebola vaccine trials in September at the University of Oxford in England, as well as centers in Gambia and Mali, according to GlaxoSmithKline. In all, 140 patients will be tested… The NIH said it should have initial data from the trial in late 2014.

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.

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