In health news this week; an experimental vaccine to fight Ebola has been sent to Liberia. Makers hope the trial will be a success and will be the first preventative measure against the decease. If effective it will then be rolled across Sierra Leone and Guinea who have also seen a large number of people die.
The vaccine was quickly co-developed by US department agency National Institutes of Health (NIH) and British firm GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). The BBC reports that chief executive of GSK, Sir Andrew Witty, talk of the pace of development for the vaccine was unprecedented saying they “delayed two other vaccine development programmes to free up the space to do this work”.
After successful testing here in Europe the makers are encouraged by the result so hope to enrol up to 30,000 people in the hardest hit areas to receive the vaccine. If regulations are met 10,000 volunteers will receive the GSK vaccine along with the same number receiving a placebo. Results will then be compared to see if it offers any meaningful protection against the virus. The first to receive it will be those healthcare workers working on the frontline.
Both GSK and the NIH are keen to point out the vaccine is still very much and the development stage and the World Health Organisation, along with other regulators, would need to ensure it to be safe and effective before rolling out to other countries.
The same organisation reported this week that Ebola cases appear to be in decline but warn that everyone should still remain vigilant.
Picture courtesy of CDC Global (Flickr). Dr. Tom Frieden, Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, exits an Ebola treatment unit. Aug 2014. http://goo.gl/nANQPM
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