GSK clinical trial may start this fall for Ebola vaccine

August 12, 2014

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) with its partner, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), is expected to begin a phase 1 trial this fall on a potential vaccine for the treatment of Ebola virus, a deadly disease that has killed approximately 1,000 in a recent outbreak in West Africa, according to a report by Reuters.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) with its partner, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), is expected to begin a phase 1 trial this fall on a potential vaccine for the treatment of Ebola virus, a deadly disease that has killed approximately 1,000 in a recent outbreak in West Africa, according to a report by Reuters.

The investigational vaccine is being developed in collaboration with Okairos, a Swiss-Italian biotech company that GSK recently acquired. The vaccine is a chimpanzee adenovirus vector vaccine that contains two Ebola genes-but no infectious Ebola virus material, according to NIAID’s website.

In preclinical trials in primates, GSK’s vaccine has shown promise, according to the NIAID. 

The Ebola virus causes viral hemorrhagic fever disease with symptoms of fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, gastrointestinal problems, weakness, loss of appetite, and abnormal bleeding, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is transmitted through exposure of direct contact with bodily fluids and blood of an infected individual or through needles with contaminated secretions. CDC noted that it cannot be transmitted through the air like influenza.

 

The World Health Organization reports that the outbreak has affected Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia, and Nigeria with more than 1,800 cases of disease and contributed to 1,000 deaths. Also, two American missionaries were infected in Liberia and were treated with an experimental drug and are now back in the United States for more treatment.

WHO okays experimental drug use in Ebola outbreak

There are no approved treatments for Ebola virus, although the World Health Organization has authorized the use of an experimental drug, zMapp (Mapp Biopharmaceutical, Inc.), a cocktail of three antibodies against the virus. zMapp had shown promise in mice and non-human primates when administered within one to two days following Ebola virus exposure, according to NIAID.