An experimental US Ebola vaccine is being trialed on humans at the country’s National Institutes of Health (NIH)’s campus in Bethesda, Maryland.
The vaccine has been developed by the agency’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and GlaxoSmithKline.
Twenty healthy adult volunteers are being tested. The NIH will see if the vaccine is safe and triggers an adequate response in their immune systems.
An outbreak of the disease in West Africa has killed at least 1,500.
NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci has said the vaccine had worked in tests on monkeys.
“All the other monkeys, the control monkeys, that were given a lethal dose of Ebola all died. All of the animals who were vaccinated survived. So the results were pretty crisp and clear cut,” he said.
Later in September, the NIH and a British team will test that vaccine on volunteers in the United Kingdom, Gambia, and Mali.
Ebola spreads through contact with bodily fluids such as blood, saliva, and sweat. It has killed around two-thirds of those it has infected over the last four decades, with two outbreaks registering fatality rates approaching 90 percent.
There is currently no known cure for Ebola. Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone are grappling with the disease, which has also spread to Nigeria.
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