Human clinical trials of an experimental Canadian Ebola vaccine are underway, with officials saying that if successful the vaccine could be shipped to affected areas of West Africa within a few months.
Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Gregory Taylor says the vaccine has been in the works for years.
“I want to be clear, to do these clinical trials no one will be at risk of getting Ebola. The vaccine does not contain any live Ebola virus. Researchers conducting the trial will be asking about 40 healthy volunteers to take the Ebola vaccine.”
He says a team of health care professionals will monitor side effects and take blood samples to see how effective the volunteers immune systems are in making Ebola antibodies.
If the phase one clinical trials are successful, Taylor says there will be larger trials in humans. “Careful consideration will be given to doing trials in the Ebola-affected country. We will also be a step closer to having a vaccine that can be authorized for sale by drug regulators and made widely available to those who need it.”
Federal Health Minister Rona Ambrose says the vaccine was developed in Winnipeg.
She says the trials are being done at the Walter Reid Army Institute of Research and the Clinical Trials Center of the Translational Medicine Branch. “This process is moving at unprecedented speed. Quite literally, the global community has come together to move the Canadian vaccine forward.”
Over 4000 people have died from Ebola since the crisis began.