News / Health

Ebola Vaccine from GSK Fast-tracked into Clinical Trials

FILE - The logo of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is seen on its office building.
FILE - The logo of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is seen on its office building.
Reuters

An experimental Ebola vaccine from GlaxoSmithKline is being fast-tracked into human studies and the company plans to build a stockpile of up to 10,000 doses for emergency deployment, if results are good.

The research work is being accelerated with funding from an international consortium, reflecting mounting concern over the worst outbreak of the disease that has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa.

GSK's candidate vaccine, being co-developed with the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), is expected to be given to healthy volunteers in Britain and the United States from about mid-September, with the program then being extended to Gambia and Mali.

Britain's biggest drugmaker said on Thursday the Phase I trials would start as soon as they received ethical and regulatory approvals.

The NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases is also working on a wider program of clinical trials, including tests of a version of the GSK vaccine that may fight a second strain of Ebola, as well as the West African one.

In addition, U.S. researchers plan human tests of a vaccine developed by Canadian government scientists, which has been licensed to NewLink Genetics.

The trials being announced will enroll healthy volunteers with the goal of determining whether the vaccine is safe and whether it provokes a protective immune response.

The aim is to complete these tests by the end of 2014, after which vaccines could be deployed on an emergency basis.

Race to test

In a grim assessment of the deadly disease, the World Health Organization said on Thursday that the current Ebola outbreak was continuing to accelerate and could infect more than 20,000 people.

Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust medical charity, which is helping to fund the vaccine trials, said the effectiveness of vaccines and drugs could only be assessed during epidemics, so it was vital to test products now.

GSK plans to begin making up to about 10,000 additional doses of its vaccine at the same time as the initial clinical trials, so if they are successful vaccine could be made available immediately for an emergency immunization program.

NewLink has also contracted for the manufacture of increased supplies of its vaccine.

A steering committee made up of senior officials from NIH and the U.S. Department of Defense also approved last week the first step toward using three advanced laboratories to manufacture Ebola vaccines and treatments, a person familiar with the planning told Reuters.

The three labs, in Texas, Maryland and North Carolina, were set up in 2012 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in partnership with private industry to respond to pandemics or chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear threats..

The GSK vaccine consists of a common cold virus, called an adenovirus, that has been engineered to carry two genes of the Ebola virus. Animal testing has shown that when the adenovirus infects cells the Ebola genes produce harmless proteins that stimulate the immune system to produce antibodies to Ebola.

GSK acquired the vaccine after buying Swiss-based biotech company Okairos for 250 million euros ($330 million) last year.

You May Like

French Refugee Drama Wins Cannes Top Prize

Dheepan is about a group of Sri Lankan refugees who pretend to be a family in order to flee their war-torn country for a housing project in France More

Photogallery Crisis in Macedonia Requires Meaningful and Swift Measures

The international community has called on Macedonian leadership to take concrete measures in support of democracy in order to exit the crisis More

Activists: IS Executes 217 Civilians, Soldiers Near Palmyra

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Sunday said the victims include nurses, women, children and Syrian government fighters More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmakingi
X
Bernard Shusman
May 24, 2015 2:55 PM
According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.
Video

Video Effort Underway to Limit Damage from California Oil Spill

Cleanup crews are working around the clock to remove oil from the waters off the coastal city of Santa Barbara, in California. About 380,000 liters of oil may have leaked out before a rupture in an onshore, underground pipeline was discovered Tuesday. The environmental disaster hit the popular West Coast resort area before the Memorial Day weekend. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports investigators have yet to determine what caused the incident.

VOA Blogs