Canadian-made Ebola vaccine to start clinical trials in healthy humans

Watch above: Clinical trials of an experimental vaccine, developed in Canada, are beginning. But as Jacques Bourbeau reports, the news is tempered by fears the first case may turn up in Canada before the vaccine is ready.

TORONTO – An experimental Canadian-made Ebola vaccine will begin a clinical trials Monday in what officials are calling a promising development in the fight against the deadly disease.

The vaccine will be tested on healthy individuals to see how well it works, whether there are side effects and what the proper dosage is, Health Minister Rona Ambrose said in a news conference.

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“The Canadian vaccine provides great hope and promise because it has shown to be 100 per cent effective in preventing the spread of the Ebola virus when tested on animals,” she said.

If it proves safe and effective in humans, the vaccine could help stop the devastating outbreak that has killed thousands of people in west Africa, she said.

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Studies in primates have shown this vaccine works in primates both to prevent infection when given before exposure and to increase survival chances when given quickly after exposure.

READ MORE: What you need to know about Canada’s contribution to Ebola vaccines

A small U.S. company called NewLink Genetics holds the licence for the vaccine and will be arranging the trials, to be conducted in a lab in Silver Spring, Md.

Ambrose said the results are expected in December, with the vaccine to be deployed shortly after.

NewLink said earlier this month that at least five clinical trials involving the vaccine, known as VSV-EBOV, would soon be under way in the United States, Germany, Switzerland and in an unnamed African country which is not battling Ebola.

As well, the Canadian government has said it wants to conduct a trial in this country.

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