Sunday, October 2

Human Trials of Ebola Multi-Species Vaccine Coming Soon | Ebola

The first injection of a new Ebola vaccine that can protect against multiple species of the virus will be given on Thursday, the researchers said, with the vaccine based on technology similar to the Oxford Covid vaccine.

Ebola hemorrhagic fever is caused by the Ebola virus and has caused devastation in some parts of the world. It is believed that the outbreak in West Africa in 2014-16 may have caused more than 11,000 deaths, while the outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo between August 2018 and June 2020 claimed more than 2,200 lives.

Very effective vaccines against Ebola have been developed in recent years, but experts caution that they have only been approved for one of the four species of the Ebola virus. This is the Zaire species that is responsible for many outbreaks and has the highest mortality rate, with estimates between 70% and 90%.

“There are three other important species of the Ebola virus that these vaccines are not approved to prevent,” said Dr. Daniel Jenkin, the trial’s principal investigator at the Jenner Institute at the University of Oxford.

Of these other species, Sudan’s Ebola virus is believed to have a mortality rate of about 50%Jenkin noted that it has caused the second highest number of outbreaks.

Now, Oxford University researchers say human trials of a new Ebola vaccine that has been designed to protect against both Zaire and Sudan species of the Ebola virus should begin.

“The two species that we are targeting with this vaccine have caused almost all of the outbreaks and deaths,” Jenkin said.

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As with the Oxford / AstraZeneca Covid vaccine, the Ebola vaccine is based on a virus that causes the common cold in chimpanzees, but has been modified so that it cannot cause disease in humans. However, instead of inserting coronavirus spike protein genes into the genetic material of this chimpanzee virus, as was the case with the Covid vaccine, the team loaded the chimpanzee virus with genes for the major protein on the surface of the chimpanzee. Ebola virus.

“Basically, we have two copies of that: a copy of the Ebola virus species from Zaire and a copy of the Ebola virus species from Sudan,” Jenkin said.

While there are other vaccines in development to protect against more than one species of the Ebola virus, Jenkin said the new jab was the first to use the same underlying technology that was used for the Oxford / AstraZeneca Covid vaccine. That, he added, could bring practical benefits.

“[The Covid jab] it is now manufactured in 20 different manufacturing sites, including in middle-income countries, ”he said. “Having that proof of concept that you can make a similar vaccine on an incredibly large scale is also a huge advantage.”

While the first injection of the new Ebola vaccine is given on Thursday, the team says they are looking for 26 healthy volunteers, ages 18 to 55, for the Phase 1 clinical trial. Those interested in registering can do so online.

Participants will be given a dose of the jab and then followed for a period of six months to allow researchers to explore the safety of the vaccine and the immune response it triggers.

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David Matthews, a professor of virology at the University of Bristol, who was not involved in developing the new jab for Ebola but was involved in studying the mechanisms by which the Oxford / AstraZeneca Covid vaccine works, said using the same technology makes sense.

“You have a huge database of security profiles and you have [a] well understood manufacturing process, ”he said.

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