Human testing begins for Canadian-made Ebola vaccine
An experimental Canadian-made Ebola vaccine could be shipped to West Africa within months if it proves to be successful, according to an article by The Canadian Press. The death toll for the most recent Ebola outbreak has climbed to over 4,400 to date.
Human testing began Monday with twenty vials sent off to the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Maryland for testing on about 40 healthy volunteers, said Health Minister Rona Ambrose.
"This provides hope because if the Canadian vaccine is shown to be safe and effective, it will stop this devastating outbreak,'' said Ambrose.
VSV-EBOV, the vaccine created by Public Health Agency of Canada, will go through multiple phases of testing to verify how safe it is. The Phase 1 trial will determine the proper dosage level and test for possible side effects. If it meets expectations in December, then it would be tested in a larger human sample that includes those directly handling Ebola cases in West Africa.
Currently there are no reported Canadian incidents, and health officials reaffirm that the risks of Ebola emerging in the nation are very low.
There are no direct flights to Canada from West Africa, but nearly 30 Canadians arrive on connecting flights from Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia per week. Those are the three African countries devastated by Ebola, said Ambrose.
While the 216 Canadians known to be living in those countries are urged to come home immediately, a travel ban is not being considered at the moment.