Human Trial for Ebola Vaccine to Begin This Week


Human trial for Ebola vaccine to begin:

The first human trial for an investigational Ebola vaccine is set to begin this week.

The ongoing Ebola outbreak in West Africa prompted the National Institutes of Health to expedite safety testing for several vaccines already in the works. Since March, the deadly virus has killed 1,552 people, according to the World Health Organization, which predicted last week that the virus could infect 20,000 people in the next six months.

An Ebola vaccine is different from the experimental Ebola drug ZMapp, which two Americans received last month and is designed to treat an existing Ebola infection rather than prevent one.

“There is an urgent need for a protective Ebola vaccine, and it is important to establish that a vaccine is safe and spurs the immune system to react in a way necessary to protect against infection,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, said in a statement.


So, 20 people will receive the vaccine and then be monitored for health problems. If this test goes well, then emergency doses of the vaccine will be produced and given to the World Health Organization. However, given the small number of people being tested, more research will be needed before the vaccine is commercially available.

I think the 20 volunteers are courageous, even though they will not be infected with Ebola.


A vaccine is intended to help people who have not yet been infected. However, a drug to treat people who have been infected is also needed.

The experimental drug Zmapp has gotten much attention in news reports. However, it isn’t known whether it is effective, or even safe for humans, to use. One bit of good news is that a small study of monkeys (18 of them) showed the drug to be effective, even for animals which were showing symptoms of infection. Of course, monkeys not are the same as humans, but the results are encouraging and will move the drug forward in development.


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