More reports on: World economy

WHO vaccines head volunteers to undergo Ebola vaccine trial

25 October 2014

The WHO official under whose supervision an Ebola vaccine was being developed has signed up to become one of the first to undergo vaccine trials, Reuters reported.

Dr Marie-Paule Kieny, Assistant Director-General, Health Systems and InnovationAccording to Marie-Paule Kieny, the World Health Organization's assistant director general for health systems and innovation, told Reuters, she signed up because it was the right thing to do.

She said she had never been a guinea pig in any medical trials but the results of these clinical trials were absolutely crucial. She added the researchers needed to know if they were safe and which dose should be used.

Kieny, a microbiologist who directed the WHO's vaccine research initiative for nine years, would  not be at any risk of catching Ebola by trying out the vaccine.

The trials sought to determine not only whether the vaccine was safe or caused adverse side effects, but also whether it triggered the production of antibodies against the Ebola virus.

According to the WHO there might be 10,000 new cases per week by December (See: WHO warns of more Ebola deaths as toll rises to over 4,000 and World failing to contain Ebola: UN official).

Meanwhile, the toll from the outbreak had reached 4,877, the worst on record, but the true death toll was unknown and might be three times higher.

Meanwhile, Reuters said in another report that the World Health Organization said yesterday that trials of Ebola vaccines could begin in West Africa in December, a month earlier than expected, and hundreds of thousands of doses should be available for use by the middle of next year.

Vaccines were being developed and made ready in record time by drugmakers working with regulators, according to the UN health agency, but questions remained about their safety and efficacy which could only be settled by full clinical trials.

"Vaccine is not a magic bullet, but when ready they may be a good part of the effort to turn the tide against the epidemic," Kieny told a news briefing after a meeting in Geneva of industry executives, global health experts, drug regulators and funders.

"We are talking now about starting in December and not January. So this shows again how everything is really pushed forward and the massive effort which is undertaken by everybody to make this happen."

"There is a broad understanding that money will not be an issue," Kieny said. "And on commitment of vaccine manufacturers, of course there is commitment for affordable prices."

 search domain-b