First Ever Large-Scale Ebola Vaccine Trial Begins In Liberia

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VACThe first ever large-scale Ebola vaccine trial that will involve injecting 30,000 volunteers with an experimental vaccine, has started in Liberia, one of the worst affected west African country.

Over 8,500 people have already died of the Ebola virus mainly concentrated in three west African countries of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. In Liberia, nearly 4,000 people have already died of the virus.

The spread of the diseases, which has reportedly infect over 21,000 people in the region and killed over 60 percent of its victims, has slowed down in recent month due to global efforts to stop it.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said last week that the three most affected countries reported less than 100 cases during the week, the lowest death count since June, 2014.

The vaccination trial was set to begin on Monday with a dozen volunteers being injected with a small dose of a Zaire strain of Ebola which tricks the body to producing immune response. It is however not clear if the vaccine will work effectively.

“There is no danger because the piece of the Zaire strain that has been put into the vaccine. It is a weak strain and it cannot and will not cause Ebola, so it is impossible that anyone of the volunteers will contract Ebola from the vaccine,” Stephen Kennedy, the senior Liberian scientist involved in the trials, told the BBC.

Should the trial be successful, it would be the first preventative vaccine against the killer virus.

The vaccination trial is a product of a partnership set up by the governments of Liberia, United Kingdom and United States.

Times reported that British pharmaceutical and healthcare company GlaxoSmithKline was responsible for developing the vaccine alongside the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

 

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