MOSCOW, August 28 (RIA Novosti) - US scientists could start clinical safety trials of an experimental Ebola virus vaccine developed by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) as early as next week, with health authorities currently discussing whether to give the vaccine to people at risk of contracting the disease in West Africa, Bloomberg reported Thursday.
“Exactly how all that will be done is yet to be seen,” Michael Kurilla, director of GSK's Biodefense, Research Resources and Translational Research office, told Bloomberg.
The London-based pharmaceutical company is jointly developing an experimental vaccine that does not contain any infectious Ebola virus with the US National Institute of Health’s (NIH) Vaccine Research Center.
The US Food and Drug Administration has already given approval to the NIH to start Phase 1 clinical safety trials of the vaccine.
A Phase 1 trial is the first test of a drug or vaccine in humans to assess its safety and whether it works similarly to how it does in animals.
There are currently no officially approved vaccines or drugs for the treatment of the Ebola virus, which has claimed over 1,500 lives in western Africa since March, according to the latest World Health Organization data.
The disease has spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Nigeria, and was recently registered in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where it has already claimed 13 lives.
Several companies are currently working on the development of Ebola vaccines, including US-based NewLink and ZMapp and Japan’s Fujifilm.
The Russian Health Ministry’s Ivanovsky Research Institute of Virology is also testing an experimental Ebola vaccine.