Sierra Leone testing new Ebola vaccine

April 28, 2015

About 6,000 healthcare workers, including pharmacists, will be enrolled in a new clinical trial in Sierra Leone to test the safety and efficacy of the rVSV-ZEBOV candidate Ebola vaccine, the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently announced.

About 6,000 healthcare workers, including pharmacists, will be enrolled in a new clinical trial in Sierra Leone to test the safety and efficacy of the rVSV-ZEBOV candidate Ebola vaccine, the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently announced.

The Sierra Leone Trial to Introduce a Vaccine against Ebola (STRIVE) will take place in Freetown, Western Area Rural District, as well as Bombali, Port Loko, and Tonkolilli districts-areas where many people were infected with the Ebola virus. More than 3,500 individuals in Sierra Leone have died following the recent Ebola outbreak, and approximately 3,500 have survived, as of April 22, reported the Sierra Leone Ministry of Health and Sanitation.

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CDC is working with the Sierra Leone College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences and the Sierra Leone Ministry of Health and Sanitation to enroll healthcare workers in the study.

“A safe and effective vaccine would be a very important tool to stop Ebola in the future, and the frontline workers who are volunteering to participate are making a decision that could benefit healthcare professionals and communities wherever Ebola is a risk,” stated CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH.

 

Participants in this combined phase 2 and 3 clinical trial will be randomized to two groups: the first group will immediately receive the vaccine and the second group will receive it six months later. Investigators will follow study volunteers for six months and monitor the rates of Ebola virus disease.

The rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine was developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory and licensed to NewLink Genetics. As of March 26, the vaccine has been administered to more than 800 individuals in Africa, Canada, Europe, and the United States. The vaccine has a non-infectious Ebola virus gene that could stimulate immunity against Ebola.

“We don’t know whether this vaccine will be the Ebola prevention tool we’re eager for, but we hope that what we learn from STRIVE will help us save lives during this and future Ebola outbreaks,” noted Anne Schuchat, MD, director of CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.