WHO, the World Health Organization, said in a new release published on its website that results from an interim analysis of the Guinea Phase III efficacy vaccine trial is highly effective against Ebola.
The ‘ring’ vaccination method used in the trial is based on the smallpox eradication strategy, in which everyone who has come into contact with an infected person gets vaccinated, according to Dr. John Arne Rottingen, head of the Study Steering Group and also the director for the Division of Infectious Disease Control of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.
“The initial results give us reason to believe this could be the first effective Ebola vaccine developed,” says Dr. Rottingen. “This strategy has helped us to follow the dispersed epidemic in Guinea, and will provide a way to continue this as a public health intervention in trial mode,” he continues.
The Ebola vaccine ring strategy trial for affected communities in Guinea started on March 23 and involved 100 Ebola patients. More than 4,000 people who have come into close contact with these patients have participated.
The trial stopped randomization on 26 July to allow for all people at risk to receive the vaccine immediately, and to minimize the time necessary to gather more conclusive evidence needed for eventual licensure of the product.
The Ebola vaccine has also been proven safe, allowing the trial to test the vaccine on younger patients from the age brackets 6 to 12 and 13 to 17. The vaccine will also be tested on frontline workers.
“None of the participants receiving immediate vaccination have become ill so far, 10 days after the vaccine was given and expected to work,” states John-Arne Røttingen and continues, “In the control group, however, where participants received the vaccine 21 days later, there were several Ebola cases. This could indicate that the vaccine provides complete protection against Ebola.”
The trial was done in collaboration between the health authorities in Guinea, the World Health Organization (WHO), Doctors Without Borders, and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.
The trial is funded by WHO, with support from the Wellcome Trust, the United Kingdom Department for International Development, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Norwegian Institute of Public Health through the Research Council of Norway, the Canadian Government through the Public Health Agency of Canada, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, International Development Research Centre and Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development and MSF.
The trial team includes experts from The University of Bern, the University of Florida, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Public Health England, the European Mobile Laboratories among others.