News / Health

Human Ebola Vaccine Trials to Begin

Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Weeki
X
August 29, 2014 2:18 AM
The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Watch related video report from VOA's Zlatica Hoke.
Joe DeCapua

U.S. health officials announced Thursday the launch of the first human testing of a vaccine to prevent Ebola. The vaccine candidate was co-developed by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - and the pharmaceutical company GSK (GlaxoSmithKline).

Dr. Anthony Fauci says vaccine research has accelerated since the Ebola epidemic was first reported in West Africa last March.

"We are announcing the opening of a small human safety study of an investigational Ebola vaccine candidate that will be tested here at the NIH," he said. "This is the first of several Phase One clinical trials of Ebola vaccine candidates that we are set to launch."

Fauci is the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health. He describes the West Africa Ebola outbreak as a “public health emergency that demands an all hands on deck response.”

"We have accelerated the time line for testing experimental Ebola vaccines that we have been developing for several years," he said. "And after an expedited review of the candidate product and clinical trial design by the United States Food and Drug Administration we have the green light to begin."

He says the trials will be based on three earlier versions of Ebola vaccine candidates. Those trials led to the vaccine that is now being studied. Next week, the first three volunteers will be enrolled in a study known as VRC207.

"The trial aims to enroll 20 healthy adults - ages 18 to 50 years - at the NIH Clinical Research Center here in Bethesda, Maryland," he said. "The study will evaluate the experimental vaccine’s safety and whether it generates an immune response in healthy adults that - based on our animal studies - could predict effectiveness in preventing the acquisition of Ebola infection."

Fauci says earlier studies of the experimental vaccine performed extremely well in protecting primates from Ebola infection.  The current vaccine candidate uses a chimpanzee cold virus. The virus carries a gene related to the surface protein of the Zaire and Sudan strains of the Ebola virus. The Zaire strain is blamed for the West Africa epidemic.

"It is important to know that the Ebola gene contained in the investigational vaccine cannot cause a vaccinated individual to become infected with Ebola," he said. "The volunteers in the VRC207 trial will be divided into two groups to test first a lower and then a higher does of the vaccine.

The vaccine will be administered through an injection in the arm. The trial is scheduled to last 48 weeks, but initial findings could be available by the end of this year.  

In October, a second trial will begin in the U.S., Britain, Mali and The Gambia to test a vaccine candidate that contains genetic material from only one of the Ebola strains.

Fauci says despite the vaccine research, precaution and prevention are the best defense right now against the disease.

You May Like

African States Push to Keep Boko Haram Offline

Central African telecoms ministers working with Nigeria to block all videos posted by Boko Haram in effort to blunt Nigerian militant group's propaganda More

Falling Oil Prices, Internet-Savvy Youth Pose Challenge for Gulf Monarchies

Across the Gulf, younger generations are putting a strain on traditional politics More

Philippines Call Center Workers Face Challenges

Country has world’s largest business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry, employing some one-million workers More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More