Clinical trials have begun for a new Ebola vaccine developed by the University of Oxford.
The vaccine is intended to combat the Zaire and Sudan strains of Ebola, which have been responsible for nearly all Ebola outbreaks and deaths worldwide.
The University of Oxford has begun phase one of its trials, which will involve testing the vaccine on human volunteers.
There are Ebola vaccines available for the Zaire species, but Oxford researchers hope that the new vaccine will have a broader reach.
Teresa Lambe, the University of Oxford’s lead scientific investigator, stated: “Sporadic Ebolavirus outbreaks continue to occur in affected countries, endangering the lives of individuals, particularly frontline health workers. More vaccines are needed to combat this deadly disease.”
There are four types of Ebola virus that have been linked to human disease. Zaire is the most lethal of these, causing death in 70% to 90% of cases if left untreated.
The new vaccine developed by Oxford researchers is based on a weakened version of a common cold virus that has been genetically modified so that it cannot replicate in humans.
This method has already proven to be effective in the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine.
At the university, 26 people aged 18 to 55 will receive one dose of the ChAdOx1 biEBOV Ebola vaccine in phase one of the trials. They will then be tracked for six months, with the results expected in the second quarter of 2022.