Merck, NewLink Ebola vax trial suspended over joint pain complaints
- An early-stage clinical trial of Merck and NewLink Genetics' experimental Ebola vaccine has been halted for all 59 participants after 4 individuals complained of joint pain in their hands and feet.
- Doctors at the University of Geneva Hospital, where the study is being conducted, say that the trial's suspension is purely a precautionary measure.
- The trials will resume in up to 15 participants on January 5th after researchers can verify that the joint pain symptoms were isolated and benign incidents.
University of Geneva Hospital insisted that the incidents are no cause for alarm. "[The participants] are all fine and being monitored regularly by the medical team leading the study," said researchers in a statement.
In November, Merck and NewLink announced that they had struck a deal to scale up production of NewLink's Ebola treatment using Merck's technology. On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that it would be extending legal immunity and protections to companies developing and testing their investigational Ebola vaccines under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act.