Ebola Vaccine Passes First Test

The world is looking hopefully at a vaccine for Ebola developed by Canada. The latest issue of The New England Journal of Medicine reports that a vaccine for Zaire ebolavirus using another virus as a vector has proven that it is safe to administer after being tested in a Phase 1 trial.

The Canadian National Microbiological Laboratory’s new vaccine is licensed to NewLink Genetics, which in turn has licensed it to Merck. In two Phase 1 studies published in the journal, the vaccine produced antibodies in volunteer subjects.

In one study at Walter Reed Hospital and the National Institutes of Health, both in Maryland, 52 healthy volunteers were given an injection of the vaccine or a placebo. Twelve recipients got the actual vaccine and 40 got the placebo. Four weeks later, all the volunteers who received the vaccine had developed antibodies to Ebola.

The vaccine, which contains a live virus vector, produced side effects including pain at the site of the injection and fatigue. In a similar European trial with 114 volunteers, 24 people received the vaccine.

All those who got the vaccine instead of the placebo developed antibodies to Ebola. About a third of the recipients who got the vaccine had a fever as a side effect. Some participants reported arthritis-like symptoms.

Phase 3 trials for efficacy are slated to begin soon in Guinea and Sierra Leone.

To a bright future,

Stephen Petranek
for The Daily Reckoning

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