Washington: The US government announced Thursday that it will start initial human trials of Ebola vaccine next week.
The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) said in a statement that the phase one clinical trial will determine if a vaccine, co-developed by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), is safe and induces an adequate immune response, Xinhua reported.
Testing will take place at the NIH`s clinical center in Bethesda, Maryland state, with 20 healthy adults aged 18 to 50 years receiving an intramuscular injection of the vaccine, it said.
Parallelly, the NIH and a British consortium, including the Wellcome Trust, will test the NIAID/GSK vaccine among healthy volunteers in Britain and in the West African countries of Gambia and Mali, the agency said.
The US government is also discussing a trial of the vaccine in Nigeria, Africa`s most populous country.
"There is an urgent need for a protective Ebola vaccine, and it is important to establish that a vaccine is safe and spurs the immune system to react in a way necessary to protect against infection," NIAID director Anthony Fauci said in a press release.
GSK said in a statement that the British consortium that also involved the British government has pledged some $4.6 million for the phase one trials, which are expected to be completed by the end of 2014.According to the World Health Organisation, at least 1,552 suspected and confirmed deaths from Ebola infection have been reported in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone since the outbreak of the deadly virus was first reported in March 2014.