Merck to enter Ebola Vaccine Investigational agreement

Merck Vaccines and NewLink Genetics Corporation will enter a cooperative agreement to research, manufacture and develop an investigational vaccine candidate for the Ebola virus.

The vaccine candidate was originally developed by the Canadian Public Health Agency and is in the first phase of clinical trials.

“Effective Ebola vaccines will be a critical component of comprehensive prevention and control measures for people at risk of Ebola virus infection and to stem future outbreaks globally,” President of Merck Vaccines Dr. Julie Gerberding said. “Merck is committed to applying our vaccine expertise to address important global health needs and, through our collaboration with NewLink, we hope to advance the public health response to this urgent international health priority.”

The vaccine uses a strain of vesicular stomatitis that has been changed so that it behaves like the Ebola virus and produces a protein that is instrumental to Ebola virus disease infection.

“This vaccine is the result of years of hard work and innovation by Canadian scientists," Minister of Health of Canada Rona Ambrose said. "We are pleased that this new alliance coupled with the clinical trials currently underway will further strengthen the possibility that the vaccine will make a difference in the global response to the Ebola outbreak.”

Pending the Phase I results, the National Institutes of Health stated that they would conduct large scale Phase III trial of this and another vaccine that was developed in part by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease and GlaxoSmithKline.

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