Combo of J&J Ebola vaccine, Nordic Bavarian booster yields 100% success in small-scale tests
- In a small phase one study of 87 volunteers, those who received Johnson & Johnson's Ebola vaccine AdVac, followed by a booster from Bavarian Nordic (MVA-BN booster), had a 100% response and still had anti-Ebola antibodies eight months later.
- Ebola vaccines are being developed by a number of companies and agencies, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), GlaxoSmithKline, Merck and NewLink Genetics Corp. The Advac/MVA-BN booster study was single-center, randomized, placebo-controlled and observer-blind.
- In 2014, 29,000 people in three West African countries -- Liberia, Sierra Leone and New Guinea -- became infected with the mosquito-borne Ebola virus. Roughly 11,000 people died as a result.
Large-scale, intensive collaborative efforts that started in early 2015 are starting to pay off. Although this is a phase one trial, the results are important because they suggest that this regimen induces enduring immunogenicity. In addition, T-cell responses persisted in 77% to 80% of the volunteers who received the immunization/shot.
Injection site pain was the most commonly reported side effect, though fewer than 5% of those who received the active immunization experienced this. In the open-label study leading up to phase one, 27 percent of participants reported fever. However, all cases of fever had resolved within 24 to 48 hours.
The vaccine was developed from a public-private partnership which involved the NIH, along with J&J's Janssen and Bavarian Nordic. Additional grant support was provided by Europe's Innovative Medicines Initiative, which includes the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, the University of Oxford and Inserm, the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research.