Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


J&J Ebola vaccine to start clinical trials in early 2015

04 September 2014, 06:40

Lagos - Scientists will fast-track tests on another Ebola vaccine, this time from Johnson & Johnson, in another sign that the world's worst outbreak of the virus is mobilising research into the deadly disease.

J&J said on Thursday that clinical trials of its new vaccine, which includes technology from Danish biotech firm Bavarian Nordic, would commence in early 2015.

The move follows a decision to begin initial human testing of a GlaxoSmithKline vaccine this month and plans to test one developed by Canadian government scientists, which has been licensed to NewLink Genetics, in the autumn.

Also Read:$600 million to help Ebola-stricken countries

Human tests on the J&J vaccine were previously not expected to start until late 2015 or early 2016.

J&J's long-term goal is to develop a vaccine that can protect against both the Zaire and Sudan strains of Ebola, as well as a related condition called Marburg disease. But the programme has been simplified in light of the current outbreak.

"Because of the emergency we decided to focus on the Ebola Zaire strain, which is the one in the West Africa outbreak, and that's why we can accelerate the programme significantly," Chief Scientific Officer Paul Stoffels told Reuters.

As with the GSK and NewLink programmes, J&J is working on the clinical trials with the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of National Institutes of Health.

"The crisis is so important here, and still expanding, that more than one approach is warranted, in case the epidemic doesn't come under control in the coming months," Stoffels said.

Also Read: New Ebola fears hit the country

All of the initial Phase I trials will enroll healthy volunteers with the goal of determining whether the experimental vaccines are safe and whether they provoke a protective immune response.

Stoffels said it had not yet been decided where trials on the J&J vaccine would be conducted or how many subjects would be involved.

The race to develop new drugs and vaccines has been spurred by a World Health Organisation ruling that it is ethical to use experimental products in the current epidemic, given the high death toll.

Governments and aid organisations have scrambled to contain the disease, which according to the United Nations agency has killed more than 1,900 in West Africa since March.

J&J said its vaccine, which was developed by its Crucell unit in the Netherlands, provided complete protection against the Zaire strain of Ebola when tested on macaque monkeys.

Also Read:Ebola poses threat to humanity - US officials

Like a number of other experimental vaccines against various diseases that are now in development, it uses a common cold virus, called an adenovirus, to carry its payload.

Immunisation with the J&J vaccine consists of two injections - one to prime the immune system and a second to boost the response. They were given two months apart in the monkey tests. By contrast, researchers are testing just a single shot of GSK's vaccine.

How safe and effective J&J's product will be in humans remains to be seen, but more than 1,000 people have already received similar experimental vaccines from Crucell in clinical trials for other diseases with no apparent ill effects, offering some reassurance.

Bavarian Nordic, meanwhile, has used a similar approach in producing a smallpox vaccine that has been stockpiled around the world and tested on more than 7,300 people.

J&J is also stepping up research into potential drugs for Ebola by undertaking an intensive review of known biological pathways used by the virus to see if previously tested medicines might help.

- Reuters


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...