GlaxoSmithKline Will Take Its Shot At Ebola Later This Year

Published: Aug 12, 2014

GlaxoSmithKline Will Take Its Shot At Ebola Later This Year GlaxoSmithKline Will Take Its Shot At Ebola Later This Year

August 11, 2014
By Krystle Vermes, Breaking News Staff

As the Ebola crisis in West Africa continues to make headlines around the world, British drug maker GlaxoSmithKline has announced that its experimental Ebola vaccine is going into the clinical trial phase. GlaxoSmithKline is working with the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on testing.

So far, Ebola has killed almost 1,000 people, forcing the World Health Organization to declare the outbreak an “international health emergency.” There is no known cure for Ebola.

“We are working with humanitarian partners to support efforts to control the disease through donations and with research partners to develop a vaccine to prevent the disease,” GlaxoSmithKline wrote on its website. “We are also taking steps to support the small number of employees we have in the region. Our business in West Africa is currently unaffected by the outbreak and continues to operate normally.”

GlaxoSmithKline’s drug, which has been tested with relative success in primates, is slated to go under Phase 1 testing in humans shortly. The goal is to have the vaccine ready by 2015, but there is no telling if it will successfully pass clinical trials.

The British drug company has been exploring the potential for an Ebola vaccine since 2013 when it acquired Okairos, a specialist vaccine developer. As a result of the deal, the company also obtained an early stage vaccine candidate.

“In collaboration with U.S. National Institutes of Health’s Vaccine Research Center, we have evaluated this vaccine candidate in pre-clinical studies and we are now discussing with regulators advancing it to a Phase I clinical trial program later this year,” GlaxoSmithKline continued on its website.

However, the company went on to state that the development of vaccines can take more than a decade. This is because a vaccine must undergo rigorous testing to ensure that it’s safe before it’s administered to the public. Even in the case of an outbreak, a vaccine is subject to tests, regardless of the fact that time may be of the essence.

The Ebola vaccine that is undergoing testing is composed of a chimpanzee adenovirus that has been injected with two Ebola genes. When the vaccine is administered, the two genes produce a protein that provokes an immune system response in the body, but the adenovirus carrying the genes does not replicate.

GlaxoSmithKline has not given a timetable for the potential release of the Ebola vaccine. The company claims that the vaccine still has a long way to go.

Read more recent phase I news.

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