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Ebola Vaccine Sent to W. Africa for Testing

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Jan. 23, 2015 –The first shipment of an experimental Ebola vaccine is being sent to Liberia for field testing, but experts say it may be difficult to decide how successful it is because the number of Ebola cases in West Africa is falling.

An plane carrying approximately 300 introductory dosages of the immunization made by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) is expected to reach in Liberia on Friday, and a clinical trial of the vaccine could start within some weeks, BBC News detailed.

Researchers plan to deliver the antibody to 10,000 volunteers and another 10,000 will receive a placebo. Another 10,000 individuals will get a different experimental antibody.

The GSK-NIH immunization was already tested on 200 sound individuals within the U.S., U,K., Mali and Switzerland and was found to be safe. However, tests in countries affected by Ebola are the only way to decide if the antibody provides adequate assurance against the deadly infection, BBC News detailed.

But it may be difficult to survey the genuine effectiveness of the antibody with the number of Ebola cases declining, agreeing to an expert.

“Because case numbers are beginning to come down it’ll become harder and harder to appear in case the antibody is having any affect,” Professor Jonathan Ball, a virus master at Nottingham University in the U.K., told BBC News.

“Ultimately we may be in position in many months time where we don’t know whether this antibody is viable in people,” he included. “But it is critical to urge answers if we will — if not for this episode, for future outbreaks. We need to be arranged.”

Clinical trials of other exploratory Ebola immunizations are planned in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in the coming months, whereas the trial of an test drug called Zmapp might start in the next few weeks, BBC News detailed.

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