27-Oct-14 9:45 AM  CST

Ebola Vaccine Showing Real Promise

Hardly a day has gone by in the last few months without the Ebola virus being front and center of the day’s news, and it seems to be headed that way again. Following the events with Thomas Eric Duncan, and subsequently the domino effect with Texas Presbyterian Hospital an even greater sense of urgency has been placed on not only controlling the virus, but developing a vaccine as well.

            Currently, two pharmaceutical companies, GlaxoSmithKline in conjunction with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and a small Iowa based company, NewLinkGenetics, have developed very promising vaccines to fight the Ebola virus. Both vaccines have proven to be effective in small clinical trials, and are set to begin large scale human testing in 2015. NewLinkGenetics estimates its vaccine trial will be ready for distribution to West African nations in early 2015. GlaxoSmithKline is preparing for a distribution date in the later part of 2015. As Ripley Ballou, the VP of GlaxoSmithKline pointed out, the task of researching, creating, and distributing the vaccine has become so critical, what would normally take 5-7 years is being segregated to a few months.

            The task of disturbing the both vaccines will fall to the World Health Organization (WHO). GlaxoSmithKline’s vaccine was created from a cold virus known as the Chimp Adenovirus type 3 and contains genetic material from the Sudan and Zaire Ebola virus. The vaccine, which was created to activate an immune response, will be dispensed to the West Africa nations of Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. 20,000- 30,000 people will be inoculated. However, this will not be the only hurtle to cross, as the vaccine must be kept at -80 C, not an easy task in the harsh climate of West Africa.





Burton, Thomas M, “ Why the work of Dr. Nancy J. Sullivan Could be Key to a Potential Ebola Vaccine”, Wall Street Journal, 10-20-14, http://www.onlinewsj.org

Dennis, Brady. “ As Researchers Develop Ebola Vaccine Early Human Clinical Trials Show Promise”, Washington Post, 10-23-14, http://www.washingtonpost.com

Harris, Richard. “Ebola Vaccine Could Start Testing in Africa by January National Public Radio, 10-21-14, http://www.npr.org

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Source: Sandy Andrews  

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