Date
23 November 2017
An airport worker checks the temperature of a passenger for Ebola symptoms. A new vaccine could begin human clinical trials in weeks. Photo: Reuters
An airport worker checks the temperature of a passenger for Ebola symptoms. A new vaccine could begin human clinical trials in weeks. Photo: Reuters

Ebola vaccine trials could start in weeks

Human clinical trials of an Ebola vaccine developed by Canadian scientists could start any time soon, Reuters reported Thursday.

NewLink Genetics Corp., which licensed the vaccine, has enough doses to launch the first human safety trial, chief executive Dr. Charles Link said.

The company has tapped two contract manufacturing companies to produce the vaccine and expects to produce tens of thousands of doses within the next month or two.

Last week, its wholly owned subsidiary, BioProtection Systems Corp., received US$1 million from the United States government for more pre-clinical toxicology studies, including stepped-up manufacturing, to allow human trials to begin quickly.

The vaccine was developed by scientists at the Public Health Agency of Canada.

The largest Ebola outbreak in history, which has killed more than 1,000 people in West Africa, has lent an unprecedented urgency to efforts to develop vaccines and treatments, which for years had largely languished, the report said.

Only one treatment, made by Tekmira Pharmaceuticals, had begun human safety trials, while the others had been tested only in non-human primates.

In addition to NewLink, pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline is awaiting approval from the US Food and Drug Administration to begin a human safety trial of an experimental vaccine, possibly as soon as next month.

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RA

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