The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID), a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is sponsoring a research project to develop a vaccine to prevent rabies and Ebola.
Scientists at Thomas Jefferson University (TJU) and NIAID are working together to develop the vaccine in a partnership with pharmaceutical company IDT Biologika of Germany. The vaccines are licensed to Exxell Bio of St. Paul, Minnesota, which supports product advancement through clinical trials.
The developing vaccines are based on the rabies virus and are currently used to prevent the virus in humans and animals. The vaccines contain a dead or weakened form of the virus and are engineered to produce an immune reaction to Ebola. The killed virus will be used to prevent people from contracting the virus and the weakened virus will be used to prevent animals from spreading it. Trials of the vaccine on primates have been successful.
According to an Oct. 6 article from the Philadelphia Enquirer, Director of Jefferson Vaccine Center Dr. Matthias J. Schnell, a microbiologist specializing in filoviruses such as Ebola and Marburg, is leading his team to develop a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved vaccine to help prevent a pandemic.
"Filovirus research was a very unimportant field, until recently," Schnell said.
Schnell said that over the next few weeks production will begin on 2,000 doses of this vaccine. He expects human clinical trials to begin in 2015 and is hoping to see large populations vaccinated against Ebola, Marburg and rabies in the next three years.