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GSK proposes biopreparedness unit to combat global outbreaks

London-based pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline has proposed the creation of a biopreparedness unit to help avert crises like those we have seen with the recent global zika and ebola outbreaks.

MSD and GAVI agree Ebola vaccine deal

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MSD and the global vaccine alliance Gavi have agreed a deal to provide 300,000 dosesof  an Ebola virus vaccine, to continue trials and begin preparation for future outbreaks of the deadly virus.

The deal, announced today at the World Economic Forum in Davos, establishes an Advance Purchase Commitment between Gavi that provides $5 million towards the development of MSD’s rVSV-G-ZEBOV-GP live attenuated Ebola Zaire vaccine, on the understanding that it will be submitted for

China’s Tianjin invests $300m in Ebola plant

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Chinese firm CanSino is dedicated to new vaccine development

China’s Tianjin CanSino Biotechnology, a developer of affordable vaccines, says that it will invest 2 billion Yuan (£203.3 million) in an Ebola vaccine plant.

The investment will be to build a plant in the northeast city of Tianjin to mass produce an Ebola vaccine.

Although there is no official date for when production will begin at the plant, it is thought that the facility will be completed in 2017/2018.

Researchers hopeful experimental antiviral treatment stops Ebola

Ebola virus
Ebola virus (Credit: Frederick Murphy, USCDCP)

An experimental antiviral therapy may have prevented British healthcare workers from contracting Ebola after exposure to the disease in West Africa. 

A report, published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal, describes a case study of eight British healthcare workers who were evacuated to London’s Royal Free Hospital after possible accidental exposure to Ebola virus in Sierra Leone between January and March 2015. 

Encouraging first results from trial of Merck’s Ebola vaccine

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The trial is sponsored by the World Health Organisation

The first trial of an experimental Ebola vaccine suggests it provides high protection against the disease as early as ten days after vaccination.

The study in 7,500 people in Guinea, one of the countries heavily affected by the Ebola outbreak, found the vaccine – Merck Sharp & Dohme’s VSV-ZEBOV – was safe and gave complete protection against Ebola virus disease ten days after vaccination in adults who have been exposed to the virus.

Merck Ebola vaccine safe and effective in latest trials

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Merck and NewLink’s experimental Ebola vaccine has been found to be safe and effective in a new trial in the US.

The VSV-ZEBOV vaccine elicited robust antibody responses in all 40 of the patients who received it in the Phase I study, which was conducted at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR).

Ninety-three per cent of the patients tested at 14 days after infection developed antibodies against the Zaire species of the Ebola virus. Responses were approximately three times greater in those who received a higher dose.

Merck and NewLink Ebola vaccine trial begins

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Merck and US-based biopharma firm NewLink Genetics’ investigational Ebola vaccine is being used in Phase III trials in West Africa.

Vaccine candidate rVSV-EBOV will be tested from tomorrow in Guinea where 2,141 Ebola deaths have been confirmed since March last year.

“We have worked hard to reach this point,” says The World Health Organizations’ (WHO) director-general Dr Margaret Chan.

ZMapp trials start in Liberia

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Clinical trials to test the safety and efficacy of the experimental Ebola vaccine ZMapp are underway in infected parts of Liberia.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) announced the launch of the randomised trial last Friday, and it will be the first controlled study for the untested treatment.

Scientists warn Ebola virus is mutating

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Researchers in France studying the Ebola epidemic say the virus has mutated making it potentially even more contagious.

Scientists based at the Institut Pasteur (IP) in Paris are using genetic sequencing to track variations in the genomics of the virus. So far hundreds of blood samples of Ebola patients in Guinea in West Africa have been analysed.

A comparable study was conducted in Sierra Leone last year by a different group of researchers that revealed the infection mutated significantly in the first three weeks of the outbreak.

GSK launches Ebola Phase III trial in Liberia

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A shipment of GSK’s potential vaccine against the Ebola virus disease is on its way to Liberia ready to be used in the first-ever large-scale Phase III clinical trial.

The British company says the study is due to start ‘very shortly’ – expected to be in the next few weeks, subject to regulatory approval. GSK is working with the US National Institutes of Health, the World Health Organization and the Wellcome Trust to develop the candidate vaccine.

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