Updated 08:15 AM EST, Thu, Dec 02, 2021

Ebola Virus 2014 Outbreak News Update: Vaccines Delayed to 2016?

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GlaxoSmithKline is reportedly one of the front-runners for Ebola vaccine, said The Guardian, with the company expected to roll out vials mid-2015. However, The Boston Globe noted that such date only holds true if the company overcomes "hurdles."

According to The Boston Globe, GlaxoSmithKline is developing the vaccine together with the government of the United States. "It is being tested for safety in the United States, United Kingdom, and Mali," added the report.

Human trials have reportedly begun for the GlaxoSmithKline Ebola vaccines, stated The Boston Globe. "GSK said it might be able to make about 1 million doses of its vaccine per month by the end of 2015, assuming that some logistical and regulatory hurdles can be overcome," it added. 

An earlier report by BidnessEtc highlighted the possible delay in the production of vaccines against Ebola virus saying:

"Dr. [Ripley] Ballou said that manufacturing vaccine doses that are consistent with general use will take till 2016. This is the reason why GSK's vaccine cannot be considered a primary answer to control the current outbreak, even though ongoing trials will be helpful in the future."

The Guardian said that the vaccine in the works is "ChAd3, developed jointly by the biowarfare arm of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and Okairos, a Swiss-Italian biotechnology company that is now part of the pharmaceutical firm GlaxoSmithKline."

Other companies have also started developing vaccines. "Johnson & Johnson said last week it would test a vaccine combination that could protect against a strain 'highly similar' to the virus that triggered this Ebola outbreak," reported The Boston Globe.

NewLink Genetics is also working with the Canadian government to come up with a vaccine against the Ebola virus, The Boston Globe added. The vials were reportedly "sent to Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Maryland for testing on volunteers, with preliminary safety results expected by December," the outlet detailed.

Although Ebola vaccine production has already started, it doesn't change the fact that the virus could mutate. "Ebola, like all viruses, is constantly mutating and could theoretically become even more virulent or, conversely, evolve so as to become less virulent and more widely infective," The Guardian noted.

The World Health Organization is well-aware of such fact, as noted by a news update released a few days ago.

"Vaccines may have a major impact on further evolution of the epidemic. All parties are working together to finalize the most rapid approach for developing and distributing vaccines, including direct engagement with affected communities, so that effective treatments and prevention methods are embraced and shared far and wide by the most effective ambassadors, the communities themselves," reads the update.

"As we accelerate in a matter of weeks a process that typically takes years, we are ensuring that safety remains the top priority, with production speed and capacity a close second," WHO Assistant Director-General of Health Systems and Innovation Marie-Paule Kieny, said in the update.

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