TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2016

2 Ebola vaccine trials begin in Liberia

Two experimental Ebola vaccine trials begin in Liberia | Courtesy of tlcafrica.com

Liberia and the National Institutes of Health have partnered to begin trials for two experimental Ebola vaccines in Liberia.

The phase 2/3 trial, which is now accepting volunteers, will determine the efficacy and safety of the two vaccines. Health workers hope to administer the vaccines to approximately 27,000 healthy individuals who are age 18 or older.

The researchers will also accept volunteers who are most at risk for contracting Ebola, such as residents of communities with ongoing Ebola infections, health care workers, members of burial teams and contact tracers.

One of the vaccines is cAd3-EBOZ. This vaccine uses a chimpanzee cold virus to deliver genetic material of the Zaire strain, the strain that began the outbreak in Liberia. Initial studies have shown that the vaccine provoked immune responses against the external coat of the Ebola virus.

The second vaccine is VSV-ZEBOV. This treatment uses a virus that typically impacts cattle to deliver a segment of Ebola’s gene. In previous studies, this vaccine also showed promise in provoking an immune response to Ebola’s external coating. Regulatory committees reviewed the study, but the results have not been published.

Volunteers will be randomly assigned to one of three groups. One group will receive a placebo. The second and third groups will receive one injection of either of the vaccines. The trial will be double-blind, so the staff and volunteers do not know whether the participants receive a placebo or a vaccine. This style of study is considered to be the highest standard for vaccine testing.

After administering the injections, staff will advise the participants on the best ways to minimize their chances of becoming infected. Staff will contact the volunteers after one week and repeat contact on a monthly basis during the 12-month study.

Health professionals have engaged the community beginning in Monrovia (Liberia’s capital). They will continue to engage local residents in order to gain more volunteers.

Organizations in this story

National Institutes of Health 9000 Rockville Pike Bethesda, MD 20892

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