Ebola Drug: Human Trial Begins In America

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By Kalyan Kumar | September 4, 2014 6:12 PM EST

Finally, the legal barrier on Ebola drug is moving out. The vaccine's trials on human beings have started in the US to ascertain how far the human immune systems will respond to it, reported CNN.

Reuters
Workers from Doctors Without Borders unload emergency medical supplies to deal with an Ebola outbreak in Conakry, Guinea, March 23, 2014.

Accordingly, 20 healthy adult volunteers are being tested at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Maryland. The trial has been hastened because of the sufferings from the outbreak of the disease in West Africa that already killed 1,500 people.

The human trials started after a green signal from the US Food and Drug Administration. Pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline and the NIAID jointly developed the vaccine.  If the test on three healthy human volunteers goes well sans adverse effects, it will be administered to another set of volunteers in the age group of 18 to 50.

Vaccine Urgent

Anthony Fauci, director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, stated that there was an urgent need for a protective Ebola vaccine that is safe and capable of galvanising the immune system to protect from infections.  The NIH will also be partnering on similar trials in the UK, Gambia and Mali.

Injection

The vaccine trial is done by administering an injection in the deltoid muscle of the arm. The first injection will carry a lower dose, and the latter will have a higher dose, after ascertaining the safety of the vaccine.

Fauci said the human trials of the Ebola vaccine could not be carried out in affected countries such as Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria  because the health care infrastructure are not supportive.

Ebola virus

The Ebola outbreak has a high fatality rate of 50 per cent. In the Western African region, it affected more than 3,000 people. Senegal is the latest to confirm a live case. The WHO has warned that Ebola may infect more than 20,000 people.

Eluding all cure, Ebola infected people endured the worst suffering until they had relief from the experimental drug ZMapp, which was found 100 per cent effective in monkeys. The ZMapp treatment was tried on seven people, mostly health workers. But two of them died. It is still not clear how far the drug helped others to recover.

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(Photo: Reuters / Saliou Samb)
Workers from Doctors Without Borders unload emergency medical supplies to deal with an Ebola outbreak in Conakry, Guinea, March 23, 2014.
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