“The world is waiting for us to get Ebola vaccines ready and out to the people that need them in their communities.” -Dr Marie-Paule Kieny, Assistant Director-General for Health System Strengthening for the World Health Organization (WHO) at a press conference following this week’s high level meeting on Ebola vaccine access and financing.
The meeting gathered researchers, regulators, vaccine developers, and policymakers to discuss the latest results for Ebola testing trials, funding mobilization, and vaccine implementation and dissemination. Attendees shared the current status of clinical trials from all the major pharmaceutical makers and plans for large-scale investments to distribute vaccines throughout Western Africa.
Today, Dr. Kieny shared some of the main outcomes from the meeting to help keep the global community abreast of the latest progress to find a cure. Here are the top takeaway:
- Safety trials show 2 vaccines are safe. Preliminary results of Phase I safety trials for the two most advanced candidates – the ChAd3-ZEBOV vaccine being developed by Glaxo Smith Kline (GSK) and the rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine developed by NewLink Genetics and Merck – indicate that both vaccines have a good safety profile.
- Phase III vaccine testing could start by end January. The third phase of testing, which is essentially “real-world testing” (and one of the final steps of safety trails), is expected to start at the end of January in Liberia, and in February in Guinea and Sierra Leone. If shown to be both safe and effective, these vaccines could be available for wide-scale introduction a few months later.
In closing, Dr. Kieny ended the press conference by stating, “The year 2014 will be remembered as the year the Ebola virus challenged humanity. I believe that 2015 will be remembered as the year humanity used our best scientific minds to fight back.” Over the next few weeks, you are going to hear a lot about trial findings as the WHO, UN partners, and global organizations continue to tirelessly find a cure for the virus to combat Ebola.
- WHO Director-General opens high-level meeting on Ebola vaccines. Read the full speech transcript here.
- Second high-level meeting on Ebola vaccines access and financing. Read the official press announcement here.