Ebola vaccine trial to start soon in West Africa

First vaccine trials to start in Libera, but may be expanded to Sierra Leone

TORONTO – American officials say a clinical trial to show whether the Ebola drug ZMapp works should begin in a few weeks in West Africa.

The drug, which is an antibody cocktail, was designed at Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg.

The head of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases says the trial will start within two or three weeks after it is approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

And Dr. Anthony Fauci says that approval should come soon.

Fauci says the first of the several trials to test whether two Ebola vaccines protect against infection will also start in the next couple of weeks in Liberia.

He says that vaccine trial may be expanded to Sierra Leone, as trial organizers adapt plans to deal with falling case counts in the outbreak.

Transmission of Ebola has slowed dramatically in all three countries in the outbreak. Where a few months ago overflowing treatment centres were turning away patients, now many beds are empty across the region.

The World Health Organization said Thursday that there are currently two times more treatment beds than there are patients.

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