- GlaxoSmithKline is tamping down expectations on its experimental Ebola vaccine, asserting that development is a "long, complex process."
- Officials from the World Health Organization (WHO) have claimed that a vaccine could be pushed through as early as next year under emergency protocols.
- GSK's vaccine, which is being developed in collaboration with the U.S. National Institutes for Health (NIH), is expected to proceed into phase I trials later this year.
The Ebola outbreak has now killed nearly 1,000 victims and has been declared an international public health emergency by the WHO. Health officials have been scrambling to confront the epidemic, drafting $100 million emergency response plans and convening emergency meetings to discuss the ethics of dispensing experimental Ebola treatments such as Mapp Biopharmaceutical's ZMapp.
GSK's preventive vaccine could be a game-changer -- but the company is urging caution. "It is difficult to accelerate this process because of the many important steps that a candidate vaccine must go through to ensure that it is safe and effective," said GSK spokespeople.
That means that in the mean time, expect the focus to remain, by and large, on the experimental treatments being developed by U.S.-based Mapp Biopharmaceutical (ZMapp) and Candian company Tekmira (TKM-Ebola).