The News Minute | January 10, 2015 | 8:05 am IST
Two vaccines for treating the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), which have already undergone the first phrase of trials, were deemed to be acceptably safe by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday.
"The year 2014 will be remembered as a year the Ebola virus challenged humanity. I believe 2015 will be remembered as a year humanity used (its) best scientific minds to fight back," Marie-Paule Kieny, Assistant Director General of the WHO said.
According to a Xinhua report, WHO convened the second high-level meeting on Ebola vaccines Thursday to provide an update on the emerging safety and immunogenicity results of initial clinical trials and review the status of preparation for the next stage of efficacy trials in the three worst-affected West African countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
The two potential vaccines that have been undergoing phase one safety tests on humans are ChAd3, made by Britain's GlaxoSmithKline, and VSV-EBOV, manufactured by the Public Health Agency of Canada and licensed by the US firm NewLink Genetics.
Kieny said that the evaluation of these two advanced vaccines was going on, noting that trials might begin in Liberia by the end of this month, and in Sierra Leone and Guinea in February.
In addition, she also noted that the pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson has started early-stage testing of one of its vaccines and was preparing for advanced testing in the Ebola-affected countries.
"The world is waiting for us to get these vaccines ready and out to (the) people with this virus raging through their communities," she added.
As of Friday, the total number of cases attributed to EVD in West Africa reached 20,972, of which 8,259 people have died.