A large-scale Ebola vaccine trial is seeking volunteers for two experimental vaccines in Liberia, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) said Monday.
The study is being conducted by the Liberian government in partnership with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious disease (NIAID) and the NIH. The Partnership for Research on Ebola Vaccines in Liberia (PREVAIL) is expecting to enroll approximately 27,000 individuals age 18 and older for the study.
“The scale of the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa is unprecedented, and specific medical countermeasures are needed for this and future outbreaks,” NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci said. “It is imperative that any potential countermeasures, including vaccines, be tested in a manner that conforms to the highest ethical and safety standards in clinical trials designed to provide a clear answer to the question of whether a candidate vaccine is safe and can prevent infection. This trial is designed to provide such answers.”
One vaccine candidate is cAd3-EBOZ. It utilizes cold virus samples taken from a chimpanzee to deliver genetic material of the Ebola Zaire strain. This vaccine was developed by NIAID and GlaxoSmithKline scientists.
The second vaccine, VSV-ZEBOV, is a compound that was developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada in partnership with NewLink Genetics Corp. It utilizes the vesicular stomatitis virus which only affects animals to deliver the Ebola genetic material.
Participants in the study will be split into three groups, one receiving a placebo and the other two receiving a dose of the two candidate vaccines. The study is expected to last 12 months. In addition to the general public, the researchers will be looking for high-risk individuals including health care workers and those from communities with ongoing transmission.