SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2016

Ebola vaccine trial shows promising results

Ebola vaccine trial shows promising results | Courtesy of sciencedaily.com
The results of an interim analysis of VSV-EBOV (Merck, Sharp & Dohme) Guinea Phase II efficacy trial show promise as it is highly effective against the Ebola virus.

"This is an extremely promising development," Dr. Margaret Chan, director-general of the World Health Organization, said. "The credit goes to the Guinean Government, the people living in the communities and our partners in this project. An effective vaccine will be another very important tool for both current and future Ebola outbreaks."

The Data and Safety Monitoring Board, which is an independent body of international experts, conducted the review.

"This is Guinea’s gift to West Africa and the world,” Dr. Sakoba Keita, Guinea's national coordinator for the Ebola response, said. "The thousands of volunteers from Conakry and other areas of Lower Guinea, but also the many Guinean doctors, data managers and community mobilisers have contributed to finding a line of defence against a terrible disease."

The board recommended that the trial continue.


"The 'ring' vaccination method adopted for the vaccine trial is based on the smallpox eradication strategy," John-Arne Røttingen, director of the Division of Infectious Disease Control at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and chair of the Study Steering Group, said. "The premise is that by vaccinating all people who have come into contact with an infected person you create a protective 'ring' and stop the virus from spreading further. This strategy has helped us to follow the dispersed epidemic in Guinea, and will provide a way to continue this as a public health intervention in trial mode."

The success of the trial speaks to the power of international cooperations in the realms of research and medicine.

"This is a remarkable result which shows the power of equitable international partnerships and flexibility," Director of the Wellcome Trust Jeremy Farrar said. "This partnership also shows that such critical work is possible in the midst of a terrible epidemic. It should change how the world responds to such emerging infectious disease threats. We, and all our partners, remain fully committed to giving the world a safe and effective vaccine."

Experts believe that the urgent nature of the Ebola situation in West Africa encouraged research and development growth.

"This record-breaking work marks a turning point in the history of health research and development," Assistant Director-General Marie-Paule Kieny, who leads the Ebola Research and Development effort at WHO, said. "We now know that the urgency of saving lives can accelerate R & D. We will harness this positive experience to develop a global R & D preparedness framework so that if another major disease outbreak ever happens again, for any disease, the world can act quickly and efficiently to develop and use medical tools and prevent a large-scale tragedy."

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