Phase III trial of investigational Ebola vaccine launched in Sierra Leone
The National Microbiology Laboratory, which is part of the Public Health Agency of Canada, developed the rVSV-ZEBOV-GP (V920) vaccine. The vaccine was then licensed to NewLink Genetics in 2010. Merck and NewLink announced their agreement to collaborate on their exclusive licensing agreement in 2014.
The Sierra Leone Trial to Introduce a Vaccine against Ebola (STRIVE) involves approximately 6,000 participants who are health care workers and other frontline responders involved in the Ebola crisis. The investigational vaccine is involved in three large-scale clinical trials taking place within West African borders.
Health professionals and trial leaders want to expand the Ebola trials as much as possible throughout West Africa because the rates of Ebola infections have started to decline. The leaders want to find a scientific solution for Ebola so that they are prepared when another outbreak occurs. There are currently discussions taking place about expanding the trials, but they have not reached outside Liberia yet.
"Fighting Ebola remains a global health priority, and Merck is committed to advancing the development of our and NewLink's vaccine candidate as part of our overall response to the crisis," Merck Vaccines Mark Feinberg chief public health and science officer said.
The Sierra Leone Ministry of Health and Sanitation, the Sierra Leone College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention organized and implemented STRIVE.