First human Ebola trials begin today in US

The first human trials of the Canadian Ebloa vaccine began today in the US. The VSV-EBOV (Ebola) vaccine, is being tested in Maryland to assess the vaccine’s safety and determine the necessary dosage required to effectively help control the spread of the virus that has affected 8,376 people, killing 4,024 since December 2013.

Canadian Health Minister Rona Ambrose says, “We are able to share some very promising and hopeful news in the fight against Ebola,” who spoke from Calgary during a joint press release with Dr. Gregory Taylor from Toronto.

Studies in primates have shown the vaccine to be effective in preventing infection before exposure and increases survival rates when given again after exposure.

The vaccine was developed by scientists at the Public Health Agency of Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg and tested positively on animals. Today’s Maryland testing will be conducted on 20 healthy human volunteers at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. The results from today’s Phase 1 human testing will be known sometime in December (no exact date was provided).

Ambrose said that the vaccine has shown to be “100 percent effective” in preventing the Ebloa spread in animals. “If the Canadian vaccine is shown to be safe and effective [in humans], it will stop this devastating outbreak,” she adds.

Canada has provided 20 vials of the vaccine for trial use. Other Phase 1 clinical trials are being considered for Canada, the US, Switzerland, Germany and unaffected parts of Africa.

In August, Canada said it would donate up to 1,000 doses of the vaccine for use in the World Health Organization’s battle to stop the spread of the virus in Africa’s the highly effected areas. The doses have yet to be shipped from the Winnipeg Lab, however, WHO assistant director general for health systems and innovation, Marie-Paule Kieny, said the doses are expected to be shipped later this week.

There have been no diagnosed cases of Ebola in Canada.