The US health officials negotiate with Nigerian colleagues over testing of the Ebola drug in Nigeria.
It was Thursday made known that the safety trials of the drug, developed by the British multinational pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in cooperation with the US centre, on volunteers were to start next week in the UK. If it proves successful, the study will continue in Africa.
Punch points out the role of Nigeria in the study, referring to the statement by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH):
"The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has initiated discussions with Ministry of Health officials in Nigeria about the prospects for conducting a Phase 1 safety study of the vaccine among healthy adults in that country. The pace of human safety testing for experimental Ebola vaccines has been expedited in response to the ongoing Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa."
According to the plan, during second week of September the developers will test the drug on 100 UK volunteers, who will be split into several groups and will be received different doses of the drug, for the scientists to test the vaccine safety and its effectiveness.
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"The early-stage trial will begin initial human testing of a vaccine co-developed by NIAID [National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases] and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and will evaluate the experimental vaccine’s safety and ability to generate an immune system response in healthy adults. Testing will take place at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland."
The experimental drug will be tested on Ebola-free volunteers. It was also mentioned that alongside with testing, they would start producing up to 10,000 doses of the vaccine to make it available for vaccination as soon as possible if it proved effective.
NIAID Director, Anthony Fauci, stressed the importance of the current stage:
"There is an urgent need for a protective Ebola vaccine, and it is important to establish that a vaccine is safe and spurs the immune system to react in a way necessary to protect against infection. We know the best way to prevent the spread of Ebola infection is through public health measures, including good infection control practices, isolation, contact tracing, quarantine, and provision of personal protective equipment. However, a vaccine will ultimately be an important tool in the prevention effort. The launch of Phase 1 Ebola vaccine studies is the first step in a long process."
It would be recalled that there is another experimental drug, ZMapp associated with treatment of Ebola virus, which has claimed more than 1,500 of lives in West Africa. It has recently undergone the successful testing oh lab monkeys infected with Ebola and the Canadian developers are set to extend the trials of humans. It is none of a secret that the experimental ZMapp has been administered to several people worldwide, some of them responded to the treatment and fully recovered, however some died.
Meanwhile the Nigerian officials confirmed the spread of Ebola from Lagos to Rivers State, where a doctor, who had treated the infected diplomat, passed away 2 days ago. The incident caused hospitalization of scores of people and record of new cases.