A health worker at an Ebola treatment unit in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Photograph: Issouf Sanogo/AFP/Getty Images
Vaccine has so far been tested only in monkeys, but human trials set to start in Germany, Switzerland, Gabon and Kenya.
A third potential Ebola vaccine could be tested on healthworkers in west Africa in December following the announcement of funding to speed it through its first-ever human safety trials.
The vaccine, called rVSV-EBOV, was developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada. So far it has been tested only in monkeys, but in the hope that it could prove effective, 800 vials have been donated by the Canadian government. The safety trials – in which people at no risk of catching Ebola are vaccinated to ensure there are no serious side-effects – will start imminently in Germany, Switzerland, Gabon and Kenya.
The Wellcome Trust is donating £3.1m to enable the collection of safety data, overseen by the World Health Organisation.
“Several crucial pieces of the jigsaw are falling into place in terms of the global leadership and action required to turn this epidemic around,” said Prof Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust. “Communities in west Africa continue to suffer from the crisis with remarkable fortitude and finally the rich world has committed significant finance and resources to support critical public health measures, and progress in the search for treatments is encouraging.
Written by Sarah Boseley
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