Ebola virus: Vaccine 'should be ready for 2015', WHO says, as GSK plays down timing

GlaxoSmithKline is reportedly starting trials next month as Ebola continues to spread through West Africa killing nearly 1,000

An Ebola vaccine should be ready for public use by 2015, the United Nation’s health agency has said.

“I think it’s realistic”, Marie-Paule Kieny, Assistant Director General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) told AFP yesterday, with clinical trials expected to get underway soon.

There is currently no vaccine or cure for the virulent disease, which has ravaged parts of West Africa and killed more than 900 since its outbreak in March.

The epidemic, which has mostly affected Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, is said to be the largest and most brutal in its history and has been declared an international public health emergency.

 

“Since this is an emergency, we can put emergency procedures in place... so that we can have a vaccine available by 2015,” Jean-Marie Okwo Bele, the head of immunisation and vaccines at the WHO, told French radio broadcaster RFI.

He also said that GlaxoSmithKline will start trials next month, with the British pharmaceutical giant having initially started its own development of the vaccine in May 2013.

It states on its website: “We are working with the US National Institutes of Health’s Vaccine Research Center (VRC) to advance development of an early stage vaccine candidate for Ebola. GSK acquired the vaccine candidate when we purchased Okairos in May 2013.

“In collaboration with VRC, 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 programme later this year.”

A spokeswoman for GSK told The Independent: “It’s too early to speculate on timing.

“GSK and the VRC appreciate the very serious nature of the current Ebola outbreak, however, our vaccine candidate is at a very early stage of development and is not yet ready for use in these circumstances.”

READ MORE: US aid workers ‘improving’ after taking serum
British experts urge US and WHO to ‘give Africans cure’
Deadly epidemic declared international public health emergency
They'd find a cure if Ebola came to London

The latest developments come as two US aid workers infected with the deadly virus appear to be responding well to an experimental treatment that had previously only been tested on monkeys.

Dr Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, who were flown home to the US in a sealed tent within a modified aircraft, were said to be improving thanks to a serum called ZMapp.

However, the administering of the drug riled authorities in West Africa as it had not been offered to them.

Three of Britain’s leading Ebola experts said some of the few experimental treatments currently under study should be made available to African governments.

They should be “allowed to make informed decisions about whether or not to use these products - for example to protect and treat healthcare workers who run especially high risks of infection,” Peter Piot, who discovered Ebola in 1976, David Heymann, the Director of the Chatham House Centre on Global Health Security and Jeremy Farrar from the Wellcome Trust, said in a joint statement.

Tolbert Nyenswah, Liberia’s Assistant Health Minister, said that the missionaries’ treatments had “made our job very difficult” with dying patients and their families in Africa requesting the same drug.

Meanwhile, Guinea, where Ebola first emerged earlier this year, announced yesterday that it was closing its land borders with Liberia and Sierra Leone.

It comes amid increasing nervousness and unrest following the spread of the virus, which kills between 60-90 per cent of its victims.

Riot police tried to control a demonstration in Liberia yesterday, which had taken to blocking a highway to protest the government’s delay in recovering bodies.

Residents told the Associated Press that the bodies of a number of Ebola victims had been left on the side of a road in the town of Weala for two days.

Nigeria, which has seen 13 cases of Ebola and two deaths, declared a national emergency on Friday, with President Goodluck Jonathan approving £7million to help combat the spread of the disease.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Sport
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Voices
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
A poster by Durham Constabulary
news
Sport
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Emily McDowell Card that reads:
artCancer survivor Emily McDowell kicks back at the clichés
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvBadalamenti on board for third series
Life and Style
tech
Sport
Standing room only: the terraces at Villa Park in 1935
football
Sport
Ben Stokes celebrates with his team mates after bowling Brendon McCullum
sportEngland vs New Zealand report
News
Amal Clooney has joined the legal team defending 'The Hooden Men'
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine