Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever, www.CDC.gov

Looming Pressure on Pharma as the Spread of Ebola Continues

When will a vaccine become available for Ebola?

Killing over 8,000 people in West Africa since last year and still spreading, the need for a prophylactic Ebola vaccine is becoming increasingly important. Companies are racing to bring a safe vaccine to market and with the current pace of the epidemic in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, the demand for Ebola vaccine doses is currently predicted to be anywhere between 100,000 to 12 million.

Three of the most promising candidates in clinical trials are Johnson & Johnson (J&J) in collaboration with Bavarian Nordic, Merck with NewLink and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).

J&J who have announced the start of their Phase I trials last week, boasts that their vaccine’s two-dose “prime-boost” regimen will provide maximal protection, as well as long-term protection over other candidates in the market. However, there is speculation that the need of an additional dose could also cause further complications in controlling mass immunisation. Only time can tell how well J&J’s clinical trials will unfold.

Further into the clinical trials, Merck and NewLink were happy to state that their suspended trial is now back in action after being subject to suspected side effects back in December. Using a smaller dose, they believe it will still produce enough antibodies but will be better tolerated.

Other companies including Novavax, EpiVax, Kalon Biotherapeutics and Paragon are working on their own candidates.

You can meet all these companies as well as J&J and Bavarian Nordic at the dedicated Emerging and Re-emerging diseases conference as part of the 15th World Vaccine Congress taking place on April 7 – 9, Washington DC on their Ebola vaccine development. Also, keep up to date with diseases such as dengue, chikungunya and malaria, presented by Sanofi Pasteur, Merck, Vaccine & Gene Therapy Institute of Florida, Sanaria, Thermis, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and many more. Visit the website for more information.

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