British drug company ships experimental Ebola vaccine to Liberia

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British drug company ships experimental Ebola vaccine to Liberia

The first batch of an experimental vaccine against Ebola is on its way to Liberia. Healthcare workers and others at high risk from could be given a vaccine as early as next week.

The Telegraph reports: A batch of GlaxoSmithKline’s candidate Ebola vaccine will arrive in Liberia on Friday. It will be the first time an experimental immunisation for the deadly virus has been trialled in a country that is suffering from the latest epidemic.

GSK said the shipment, containing 300 doses of vaccine, will be used to start the first large-scale trial of its candidate, which has so far only been tested on small groups of patients in the UK, US, Switzerland and Mali.

The UK drug maker said the Liberian trial would involve up to 30,000 people, a third of whom would be injected with the vaccine, with the remainder given an inactive version. The trial volunteers will include frontline healthcare workers, the company said. The company may launch similar trials in Sierra Leone and Guinea in coming months, it said.’

Experts have said that with Ebola cases falling, it may be difficult to establish whether the jab offers any protection against the virus.

GlaxoSmithKline were given the go-ahead to skip normal medical tests in order to rush through the experimental vaccine.

The lack of regulation and lack of safety checks associated with this vaccine has been described as “unprecedented” by Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO


Niamh Harris
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