Ebola Vaccine Begins Human Trials

An Ebola vaccine is currently undergoing human trials in Canada. The vaccine has reportedly shown a success rate of 100 percent in animals. The Ebola trial is reportedly moving at “unprecedented speed” according to Canada’s Health Minister Rona Ambrose. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, the United States National Institutes of Health (NIH) claims they could have developed a vaccine by now if the sequester had not occurred and their budget had not been limited. The NIH budget grew by $1 billion in fiscal year 2014.

“We are able to share some very promising and hopeful news in the fight against Ebola,” Health Minister Rona Ambrose stated during a joint news conference with Canada’s chief medical health officer Dr. Gregory Taylor. The Ebola vaccine was developed by scientists working for the Public Health Agency of Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg. The vaccine will be tested on 20 healthy volunteers at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Silver Springs, Maryland. “This provides hope because if the Canadian vaccine is shown to be safe and effective [in humans], it will stop this devastating outbreak,” Ambrose added.

The Ebola outbreak has been deemed the “most severe acute health emergency in modern times” by the World Health Organization (WHO). More than 4,000 people have died from the virus in recent months. The Ebola vaccine trials are reportedly focusing on the safety of the treatment and determining the proper dosage needed to fight the deadly virus. The first results from the Ebola clinical trials are not expected to be revealed until December. If the Ebola vaccine trials are a success, the scientists will then embark upon testing with a larger human sample. The prospective clinical trial volunteers could include health workers in Africa who deal directly with Ebola patients on a routine basis.

Although many view the Ebola vaccine trials as a positive endeavor, there are detractors. Some critics of the process are reportedly upset that the potentially life-saving vaccine has been simply sitting in a Winnipeg medical storage facility instead of being handed out in West Africa. A website reportedly affiliated with the journal Science claims that the distribution delay may have been prompted by NewLink Genetics being concerned about “losing control” of the development of the Ebola vaccine.

Canada has promised to deliver 1,000 doses of the Ebola vaccine to the World Health Organization when the clinical trials process has completed. Additional clinical trials for an Ebola vaccine are currently ongoing elsewhere in Canada, Europe, and Africa. “Due partly to liability concerns, the approval of a new drug or vaccine for human use proceeds at a snail’s pace. In order to effectively control Ebola, however, human trials should be conducted as soon as possible in the region most hard hit by the epidemic, that is, West Africa, and not in Maryland. Thousands of lives could be saved if the vaccine is tested on what I expect would be the many willing volunteers there,” Dr. Joe Alton told The Inquisitr.

The Canadian government currently owns the intellectual property rights to the Ebola vaccine but has licensed the rights to NewLink Genetics, a small biotech company in the United States, through its wholly owned subsidiary, BioProtection Systems. The United States Defense Threat Reduction Agency, a division of the Defense Department, is reportedly working with BioProtection Systems to further the development of the Ebola vaccine for use in humans.

What do you think about the Ebola vaccine trials?

[Image via: Shutterstock.com]