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First UK Volunteer to Receive New Experimental Ebola Vaccine: Reports

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A healthy British volunteer will be the first person to receive an experimental Ebola vaccine during a safety trial conducted by the University of Oxford, the Daily Mail reported on Wednesday.

MOSCOW, September 17 (RIA Novosti) - A healthy British volunteer will be the first person to receive an experimental Ebola vaccine during a safety trial conducted by the University of Oxford, the Daily Mail reported on Wednesday.

"The tragic events unfolding in Africa demand an urgent response. In recent years, similar investigational vaccines have safely immunized infants and adults against a range of diseases including malaria, HIV and hepatitis C," Professor Adrian Hill of the Jenner Institute at Oxford University leading the trials was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

"We, and all our partners on this project, are optimistic that this candidate vaccine may prove useful against Ebola," the professor added.

Wednesday's volunteer will be the first of 60 to test the vaccine in the fast-paced trials, according to the Daily Mail. The 60 volunteers will be healthy people from the Oxford area aged 18 to 50 tested for side effects of the drug in addition to an immune response to the Ebola virus.

The vaccine is being co-developed by the United States National Institutes of Health and British drug company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and uses a single benign Ebola virus protein to provoke an immune response to the Zaire species of Ebola currently sweeping West Africa. According to the university, the trials will not infect volunteers with Ebola since the drug does not actually contain the virus.

All the tests are scheduled to be conducted by the end of 2014. GSK said that it was planning to produce some 10,000 additional doses of the vaccine enabling the immediate distribution of the drug upon approval.

The UN Security Council is scheduled to convene an emergency meeting on Thursday to discuss the Ebola epidemic which has killed more than 2,400 people since its outbreak in March affecting the West African countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Senegal.

Though there is no officially approved medication for the disease to date, several countries, including Russia, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Japan are currently working on developing Ebola vaccines.

Earlier in August, the World Health Organization (WHO) deemed the use of experimental drugs on infected patients an ethical means of fighting the disease.

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