Two experimental Ebola vaccines are the “front runners” in the race to stop the transmission of the virus, a senior UN official has confirmed.
The first vaccine ChimpAd3 was developed by the British company GlaxoSmithKline, and the other by the public health agency of Canada whose license has been passed to a U.S based company called New Link. The drug by GlaxoSmithKine is based on the backbone of an Adenovirus which normally infects the chimpanzee.
Dr Marie-Paule Kieny, an Assistant Director-General for health system and innovation at the World Health Organization (WHO) said the clinical trials involve 250 volunteers. Half of them will be tested in November in Lausanne, Switzerland. Meanwhile, trials are underway in the US, Oxford and Mali.
The vaccines are expected to be used in West Africa in early January, according to Dr Kieny.
The development comes at the height of the worst outbreak of Ebola that has affected the West African states of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone killing over 4500 people.
Meanwhile, Serum made from the blood of recovered Ebola patients could be available within weeks in Liberia, one of the country’s worst hit by the virus, Dr Kieny has confirmed.
She said that there are partnerships which are starting to be put in place to have capacity in the three countries to safely extract plasma and make preparation that can be used for the treatment of infective patients.
“The partnership which is moving the quickest will be in Liberia where we hope that in the coming weeks there will be facilities set up to collect the blood, treat the blood and be able to process it for use.”
Medical experts have confirmed that if a person has successfully fought off the infection, it means their body has learned how to combat the virus and they will have antibodies in their blood that can attack Ebola.