There’s progress on international Ebola vaccines. You may be hearing it here first. From the tone of today’s US media, it comes none too soon. The news was actually released on Wednesday but apparently got lost in American hysteria about the Dallas case.
From September 29-30, the World Health Organization consulted with more than 70 experts to assess the status of work on two candidate Ebola vaccines. The organization has now published an unprecedented fast-track timetable for key expected milestones in the effort to contain and control the dangerous virus. Here’s WHO’s summary of Ebola vaccine progress, with a few clarifications:
Mechanisms for evaluating and sharing data promptly must be prepared and agreed upon. The remainder of the phase 1 trials for the Ebola vaccines (testing the new treatment in a small group of people to evaluate its safety and identify side effects) must be started
Common protocols (including for those for phase 2 studies) must be developed for each candidate Ebola vaccine.
Sites in affected countries should start as soon as possible for phase 2 b.
Initial safety data from phase 1 trials will be available.
Good Manufacturing Practices-grade Ebola vaccine doses will be available for phase 2 as soon as possible.
Phase 2 studies will be approved and initiated as appropriate in affected and non-affected countries.
As soon as possible after data on efficacy become available, plans will be drawn up for large-scale vaccination, including systems for vaccine financing, allocation, and use.
In other news, WHO reports that its newly deployed team of experienced Ugandan doctors and other health workers is beginning to see encouraging results in Liberia.