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The USA will launch an early-stage trial in September of an experimental vaccine against Ebola, the deadly viral disease that has killed 729 people in the largest outbreak in history.
The National Institutes of Health has been developing an Ebola vaccine for several years that has had "encouraging results" in primates, says Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Fauci said he's working with the Food and Drug Administration to fast track the vaccine into a phase 1 clinical trial this fall. This type of trial is the earliest study in humans and aims to make sure that drugs are safe and show some efficacy.
Results from the study should be available by January, Fauci said. If the vaccine proves safe and effective, Fauci said he expects that it could be given to health workers in affected African countries sometime in 2015.
The FDA said it is working with other government agencies to speed up the development of potential Ebola TREATMENTS.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of ALLERGY and Infectious Diseases, said he would like to see potential Ebola vaccines get fast-tracked by the FDA.
"There are a few vaccines in the pipeline," he said.
I would hope that we have something by the end of 2015. Even fast-tracking it, it might take that long.
- Dr. Anthony Fauci, on timetable for Ebola vaccine
Vaccines work by exposing the body to foreign microbes or substances that simulate an attack on the body, and essentially train the IMMUNE SYSTEM to defend itself against a real, future invader such as the Ebola virus.
For a vaccine to work properly, it must be administered prior to infection and given time to work.
Phase 1 Clinical trials:are expected to begin in late September and run until January, Fauci said. During that time, researchers will GIVE THE VACCINE TO HUMANS WHETHER IT IS SAFE , and whether it prompts a protective response. In this case, a protective response would be the production of special antibodies that prevent the Ebola virus from attaching to and entering the body's cells.
Unlike animal tests, where monkeys are actually infected with Ebola to determine the drug's effectiveness, HUMAN test subjects will not be infected with the disease.