It's the latest vaccine to be rushed into clinical trials after the worst-ever outbreak of Ebola in West Africa turned into a full scale epidemic. Ebola's infected more than 8,000 people and killed about half of them, and the World Health Organization says the true toll is likely even higher.
It'll be months before any vaccine would be available, and even then it will be a small amount, probably used to protect health care workers. But experts say it's a vital first step to getting doctors, nurses and technicians to even come and help fight the outbreak. Health workers are among those at highest risk of getting infected.
"This is just the critical first step in a series of additional clinical trials that will have to be carried out to fully evaluate the promising vaccine," said Samba Sow, Director General of Mali's center for vaccine development. "However, if it is eventually shown to work and if this information can be generated fast enough, it could become a public health tool to bring the current, and future, Ebola virus disease epidemics under control."
The vaccine was developed at the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health. A consortium led by the University of Maryland is carrying out the trial. Ebola vaccine trials are also under way at NIH outside Washington, D.C., and in Britain.
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