The first human trial of a vaccine designed to prevent Ebola infection opened today. Scientists from the Vaccine Research Center (VRC) at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), one of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), designed the vaccine, which was administered to a volunteer at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda. The vaccine does not contain any infectious material from the Ebola virus.
Just three years ago, VRC Director Gary Nabel, M.D., Ph.D., together with a team of scientists from the VRC and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, described an experimental Ebola vaccine that fully protected monkeys from lethal infection by the virus. One component of that vaccine will now be assessed for safety in human volunteers. The trial vaccine, a type called a DNA vaccine, is similar to other investigational vaccines that hold promise for controlling such diseases as AIDS, influenza, malaria and hepatitis.
"This trial is further evidence of the ability of the VRC to rapidly translate basic research into tangible products," notes NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. "Our accelerated effort to understand and combat Ebola infection is part of the NIAID commitment to its biodefense mission. An effective Ebola vaccine not only would provide a life-saving advance in countries where the disease occurs naturally, it also would provide a medical tool to discourage the use of Ebola virus as an agent of bioterrorism."
Anne A. Oplinger | EurekAlert!
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