- GSK and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) have been developing a preventive Ebola vaccine since September.
- In phase I trials, the vaccine was tested on 20 healthy volunteers. All 20 developed antibodies, suggesting efficacy, as well as T-cell responses, signaling immunity.
- There were also no serious adverse effects in the phase I study.
In 2003, the NIAID tested three earlier investigational Ebola vaccine candidates, but Ebola was not a priority at that point. But given the scope of the current epidemic outbreak in West Africa, the scientific community and pharmaceutical companies have been racing to funnel this knowledge into an effective preventive vaccine.
For now, GSK's VRC 207 has shown efficacy and proven safe in phase I. Next up? Phase II/III trials on patients in West Africa. While the proper ethical approach to designing these trials must still be determined, chances are that family members of infected patients will be among the primary recruits.