The Centers for Disease Control is conducting a trail vaccination against the Ebola virus among health workers in Sierra Leone.
“A safe and effective vaccine would be a very important tool to stop Ebola in the future, and the frontline workers who are volunteering to participate are making a decision that could benefit health care professionals and communities wherever Ebola is a risk,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “We hope this vaccine will be proven effective but in the meantime we must continue doing everything necessary to stop this epidemic —find every case, isolate and treat, safely and respectfully bury the dead, and find every single contact.”
The vaccine will be tested on about 6,000 frontline health care workers. These study locations were picked because they were heavily impacted by the Ebola outbreak in the past few months.
“We are happy to be partnering with MoHS and CDC on this important study, which may help to prevent future cases of Ebola,” said Mohamed Samai, M.B., Ch.B., Ph.D., acting Provost of the Sierra Leone College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences and the study’s principal investigator. “It brings me hope and pride that my country can take from this devastating epidemic something that may benefit people around the world.”
All participants in the study will be monitored closely for six months as the vaccine is evaluated.
In 2014, NewLink Genetics entered into a licensing and collaboration agreement with Merck to research, develop, manufacture, and distribute the vaccine. The vaccine has been studied on over 800 people in Africa, Canada, Europe, and the United States.
“We don’t know whether this vaccine will be the Ebola prevention tool we’re all eager for, but we hope that what we learn from STRIVE will help us save lives during this and future Ebola outbreaks,” said Anne Schuchat, M.D., Director of CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.
Because it is not yet clear how much protection, if any, the Ebola vaccine may offer, health care workers at risk who receive the vaccine are advised continue to take full preventive actions to protect themselves from Ebola, including proper training, focused protocols and procedures, and use of all recommended personal protective equipment.