GlaxoSmithKline vaccine will now be trialled in Liberia

GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) experimental Ebola vaccine is capable of triggering an immune response in humans, according to a new study. The research suggests the vaccine is safe and there are now plans to conduct Phase III trials in Liberia.

Since the Ebola outbreak was first reported in March 2014, western governments have fast-tracked the development of candidate vaccines, with health experts recently developing a ‘roadmap’ to highlight research priorities.

The new candidate vaccine, developed by GSK in collaboration with the US National Institutes of Health, is delivered by a viral vector and is a slight variation on a vaccine successfully tested on humans in 2014.

Sixty healthy human volunteers were successfully immunised with the modified vaccine in a study carried out at the Centre for Clinical Vaccinology and Tropical Medicine at the University of Oxford, UK. The researchers claim no safety concerns were raised during the trial and have deemed the vaccine safe for further human testing.

However, although the vaccination triggered an immune response in the volunteers it was less powerful than that elicited in macaque monkeys that were administered with the same vaccine. This raises the possibility that the vaccine may ultimately prove ineffective in combatting the disease.