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New vaccine against Ebola virus

The Research Council of Norway’s Programme for Global Health and Vaccination Research (GLOBVAC) is co-funding testing of a new vaccine against Ebola.

Preliminary results from the Norwegian-led trial underway in Guinea, published in the medical journal The Lancet, indicate that the vaccine may provide complete protection against Ebola virus disease. The vaccine study is a collaboration project between the public health authorities in Guinea, the World Health Organization (WHO), Doctors Without Borders/Epicentre and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. The pilot phase of the trial began in late March 2015 and thus far the study has recruited roughly 4 000 trial participants. The research programme has allocated NOK 20 million towards this work.

“The initial results give us reason to believe this could be the world’s first effective Ebola vaccine ever developed,” says John-Arne Røttingen, Director of the Division of Infectious Disease Control at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and head of the study’s steering committee.

The trial employs a “ring vaccination” design that vaccinates a ring of people around new Ebola cases, typically around and including the village or neighborhood in which the infected person lives. A randomly selected half of these rings were given the vaccine immediately, while the other half of the rings received the vaccine 21 days later. The number of infected cases among those immediately vaccinated was then compared to the number of cases identified in the group with delayed vaccination. This enabled researchers to measure the protective effect of the vaccine, while at the same time ensuring that all participants were offered the vaccine, as required under the trial.

Source: The Research Council of Norway