Classified ads and flyers in the Baltimore area invited people to take part in a human vaccine trial for a new experimental inoculation against the Ebola virus. At the University of Maryland School of Medicine, the Ebola vaccine developers were pleased to find that the 20 slots for the Ebola vaccine human trial filled up within days. This is phase one of the human Ebola vaccine trials in Baltimore and, according to the Baltimore Sun, it represents “another front in an expanding battle being fought by the medical school’s Center for Vaccine Development and others.”
Inquisitr previously reported that a vaccine developed in Canada had already begun human trials.
Kirsten Lyke, an associate professor at the university in Baltimore where the human vaccine trial is beginning, said that the response to the request was overwhelming. Next month, if all goes according to plan, the volunteers, who have been promised monetary compensation for their participation, will begin building immunities to fight against the Ebola virus.
The vaccine was developed at the National Institute of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. According to the Baltimore Sun, it does not actually use the Ebola virus, but a genetically altered cold virus found in chimpanzees. The researchers say that the chimpanzee virus that is used in the vaccine has been genetically engineered so that it can not reproduce.
“It is a chimpanzee adenovirus vector vaccine into which two Ebola genes have been inserted. This is a non-replicating viral vector, which means the vaccine enters a cell, delivers the gene inserts and does not replicate further. The gene inserts express a protein to which the body makes an immune response.”
The human immune system is expected to produce antibodies to fight the non-replicating virus in the vaccine due to its similarity to the strain of Ebola responsible for the current outbreak. The same experimental vaccine was already administered to some healthcare workers in Mali.
“Chimpanzee adenoviruses have been considered ideal carriers for the development of vaccines against a broad range of pathogens because their neutralizing antibodies are rare in humans, and this low antibody prevalence would circumvent the negative effects of pre-existing immunity to common human serotypes of adenovirus,” according to Nature.
“The vaccine,” Voice of America explained, “was 100 percent effective in protecting monkeys against lethal exposure to Ebola in pre-clinical trials.”
Each participant must be screened to find out if their kidney and liver functions are working properly, and that they have a healthy immune system. Those same functions will then be monitored, and antibody levels will be measured. The researchers do not have enough time to test for long term safety and efficacy of the vaccine, because Ebola is already on American soil. The participants will also not be exposed to the Ebola virus after the vaccine is given, because that would be unethical.
“To some degree, we’re going to have to do some guessing,” Lyke explained as far as determining the likelihood that the new vaccine will be effective.
Researchers say that within the first weeks of the Ebola vaccine trial, they will be able to determine if the vaccine is safe enough to be distributed to the public.
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