VSV-EBOV, developed at the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg, is a cocktail of interferon-alpha, made by our immune system, and three cloned antibodies. Studies already done in primates found that it prevents infection when given before exposure and increases survival chances when given after exposure. Each vial contains two doses of the vaccine and had been created for clinical trials before the headline-making outbreak.
The original roadmap had been for clinical trials to start early next year. In a paper last year, the lab reported that their combination therapy saved three out of four cynomolgus macaques and four of four rhesus macaques when given three days after infection with Ebola Zaire, the deadliest strain.
Ordinarily, a stage I clinical trial would be used to establish dosing and safety and then it would proceed at a rather slow and expensive pace through the approval process to make sure it actually works before being used, but public outcry has led to calls for fast-tracking vaccines.
The U.S. Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, part of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, is helping expedite the bureaucracy.
VSV-EBOV is not the only candidate. cAd3, created by researchers in the U.S. National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, began clinical trials last month.
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