An experimental Ebola vaccine made by GlaxoSmithKline has passed early safety tests, offering hope for some breakthrough in the fight against the disease that has claimed thousands of lives in West Africa.
The vaccine being tested by the British drugs giant caused no serious side effects and produced an immune response in all 20 healthy volunteers who received it in an early-stage clinical trial, Reuters cited scientists as writing in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The trial, which began on Sept. 2 and will monitor the volunteers for 48 weeks, is primarily aimed at assessing how safe the vaccine is. But the immune response offered hope that it would also be effective.
“The safety profile is encouraging, as is the finding that the higher dose of vaccine induced an immune response quite comparable to that which has completely protected (lab) animals from Ebola,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which is conducting the trial in Bethesda, Maryland, was quoted as saying.
The intramuscular vaccine was developed at NIAID and Okairos, a biotechnology company acquired by GlaxoSmithKline.
The trial enrolled volunteers ages 18 to 50. Half received a lower dose and half a higher dose. All 20 developed anti-Ebola antibodies within four weeks, with those on the higher dose producing more.
Dr. Daniel Bausch of Tulane University called the results promising but cautioned that there are many more challenges ahead before the vaccine’s safety and efficacy are established, the report said.
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