The World Health Organization (WHO) reports nearly 9,000 lives in West Africa have been lost to the Ebola epidemic that began March 2014 and this week human testing of two potential Ebola vaccines began in Liberia, reports the Associated Press.
The large-scale trial will be conducted on volunteers age 18 and older, with up to 600 volunteers participating in the first phase and as many as 27,000 taking part in total.
Both of the experimental vaccines – one developed by the National Institutes of Health and is being manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline; the other developed by Canadian health officials and is licensed to two U.S. companies, NewLink Genetics and Merck – tested safe for humans after initial smaller testing.
“The scale of the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa is unprecedented, and specific medical countermeasures are needed for this and future outbreaks,” said National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D.
“It is imperative that any potential countermeasures, including vaccines, be tested in a manner that conforms to the highest ethical and safety standards in clinical trials designed to provide a clear answer to the question of whether a candidate vaccine is safe and can prevent infection. This trial is designed to provide such answers.”
For more on this study, click here.