University of Oxford trialling Ebola vaccine

The disease has claimed more than 8,000 lives since its outbreak. Picture: AFP

The disease has claimed more than 8,000 lives since its outbreak. Picture: AFP

Share this article
0
Have your say

THE first safety trial of an experimental preventative Ebola vaccine is under way at the University of Oxford.

The Oxford Vaccine Group, part of the University of Oxford Department of Paediatrics, aims to have vaccinated 72 healthy adult volunteers by the end of this month.

CONNECT WITH THE SCOTSMAN

Subscribe to our daily newsletter (requires registration) and get the latest news, sport and business headlines delivered to your inbox every morning

• You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Google +

Developers of the drug, the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, have now accelerated it due to the continued spread of Ebola in West Africa.

Since its outbreak the killer disease has claimed more than 8,000 lives across Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.

Dr Matthew Snape, from the Oxford Vaccine Group, said: “We aim to immunise all participants within a month; the main aim is to understand the safety profile of the vaccines.

“The devastating Ebola epidemic in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone continues to see hundreds of new cases each week and has placed a huge burden on these countries’ infrastructures.

“While public health measures are currently still the best way to bring the outbreak under control, if we have a safe and effective vaccine it could begin to have an impact later this year.

“That is the goal that is seeing manufacturers, public health bodies and research regulators come together to accelerate the first clinical trials of new Ebola vaccines.”

Pre-clinical studies have demonstrated that, given two months apart, the drug can provide complete protection from death due to the Kikwit Zaire strain of Ebola, which is similar to the virus causing the current outbreak.

The experimental vaccine does not contain infectious Ebola virus material and will not cause any of the volunteers, aged between 18 and 50, to be infected.

This is the second safety trial of an Ebola vaccine to be carried out at the university. In September a separate team in the Jenner Institute began a safety trial of a different Ebola vaccine.

SEE ALSO

Neighbours pray for ‘local hero’ Pauline ­Cafferkey

Charity reviewing how Scots nurse caught Ebola

Scots Ebola nurse ‘critical’ and fighting for life

SCOTSMAN TABLET AND IPHONE APPS

• Download your free 30-day trial for our iPad, Android and Kindle apps

Keep up to date with all aspects of Scottish life with The Scotsman iPhone app, completely free to download and use

Back to the top of the page