Uganda Begins Largest Trial of Experimental Ebola Vaccine

KAMPALA, UGANDA – Researchers in Uganda are launching the largest-ever trial of an experimental Ebola vaccine that is expected to be deployed in neighboring Congo, where a deadly outbreak has killed over 1,800 people.

The trial of the Janssen Pharmaceuticals vaccine involves up to 800 people and is supported by Doctors without Borders and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Pontiano Kaleebu, a Ugandan researcher who leads the trial, said Friday that he regrets that the Janssen vaccine has not yet been deployed in Congo. The health minister there who stepped down last month had argued against its deployment, saying a second vaccine could create confusion on the ground.

Already more than 180,000 people in Congo’s yearlong outbreak have received an experimental but effective Merck vaccine, but health experts worry about the availability of doses as the virus now spreads in a major city, Goma, along the Rwanda border. The wife and 1-year-old daughter of the man who died this week of Ebola in Goma now have the disease.

The Janssen vaccine has already been tested in about 6,000 people, most of them Africans, Kaleebu said. We are excited about this (trial) … because this is one of the promising vaccines, he said. It’s one of those vaccines that have shown a lot of promise in animal studies but also in other trials that have been conducted.

Source: Voice of America

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