Zee Media Bureau/Salome Phelamei
London: First human trials of a new Ebola vaccine have begun in UK in an attempt to stop the spread of the deadly virus that has killed more than 8000 people in West African countries.
The phase 1 clinical trial that began Tuesday is being led by the Oxford University scientists where 72 healthy adults between the age of 18-50 have begun receiving the drug.
The drug, which they hope will protect people against the Ebola virus, was developed by Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson.
“We aim to immunise all participants within a month; the main aim is to understand the safety profile of the vaccines,” Dr Matthew Snape of the Oxford Vaccine Group was quoted as saying.
Initial trials in monkeys showed that vaccine gave complete protection against the Kikwit Zaire strain of Ebola, which is similar to the virus causing the current outbreak in Western Africa.
Johnson & Johnson will proceed to Phase 2 and Phase 3 trials of the vaccine in Africa and Europe within the next three months if the first trials give positive results.
If successful, the company hopes to make the vaccine available for human use in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone by the middle of 2015.