Globalization has allowed microbes and diseases to spread more easily and more quickly than they have in the past. Ebola is only the latest — if the most severe — global health threat that the world has faced in recent years. Although Ebola has no known cure, scientists and pharmaceutical companies around the world are working to develop a vaccine against the virus.
While the challenges are real, researchers, health authorities and vaccine producers are determined to overcome them all. The Europe Union and a host of international drugmakers said Thursday that they will pledge $350 million to double down on Ebola research, with the funding going to projects backed by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), a public/private partnership between the European Commission and the pharmaceuticals industry – See more here:
It is the world’s largest public/private life science partnership and as such, is ideally positioned to tackle this year’s deadly Ebola pandemic, which has killed at least 5,000 people in West Africa alone -The IMI has outlined five priority projects involving the three stages of vaccine clinical trials: manufacturing, transport and storage and deployment.
The progress made in the vaccination arena looks promising.
Two potential vaccines in development at drug company GlaxoSmithKline and the Public Health Agency of Canada already are undergoing human clinical trials in the U.S., Europe and some countries in Africa.
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and NewLink Genetics currently have two vaccines in human safety trials, and an additional five companies have said they will begin testing their products on humans in the first quarter of 2015, according to WHO. Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), which will begin its trials in January, has said it will make a million doses of any effective vaccine by the end of next year.
There will be three phases of successively larger sample sizes, but the World Health Organization will begin secondary and tertiary testing phases immediately after the primary phase, without waiting for preliminary results. If trials continue to go well, pharmaceutical companies will aim to have millions of doses ready by the beginning of 2015.