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Biotechnology / COVID-19 / Health

Human trials set to begin on Ebola vaccine

It's a new phase for East Baltimore's Profectus Biosciences and its quest to develop a vaccine.

Ebola virus budding from the surface of a Vero cell. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

Whether it’s making headlines or not, the quest to discover an Ebola vaccine continues for biotech companies, including Profectus Biosciences.
The Ebola outbreak was back in the news recently as a new case was reported in Sierra Leone only one day after the outbreak was declared over.
The East Baltimore company, which received new funding for its vaccine candidate as the recent Ebola outbreak was raging in West Africa, is set to begin clinical trials on humans, the company announced on Tuesday.

Workers at an Ebola quarantine in eastern Sierra Leone. Aug. 2, 2014.

Workers at an Ebola quarantine in eastern Sierra Leone. Aug. 2, 2014. (Photo by Flickr user European Commission DG ECHO, used under a Creative Commons license)


Profectus is developing vaccines to prevent against three viruses that cause hemorrhagic fevers, known as filoviruses. The antidote is specifically engineered to protect against the Ebola strain that killed more than 28,000 people primarily in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
The company’s Phase 1 clinical trials will include testing on 39 people. As part of the study, the participants will be separated into three groups, and given progressively higher doses of the vaccine. It’s the same dosage that the company said was successful on preclinical trials in monkeys.
In mid-2017, the company expects to begin trials on the vaccine that protects against all filoviruses, including multiple strains of Ebola and Marburg virus.
The company is also developing a freeze-dried version of the vaccine that allows use without refrigerated storage.
A 26-year-old man receives a dose of an investigational Ebola vaccine at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Md.

A 26-year-old man receives a dose of an investigational Ebola vaccine at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Md. (Photo by Flickr user NIAID, used under a Creative Commons license)


After years of “treading water,” Profectus received money for the study from a consortium including the U.S. Department of Defense’s Medical Countermeasures Systems-Joint Vaccine Acquisition Program (MCS-JVAP) both directly and through contracts with Battelle, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
In mid-2017, the company expects to begin trials on the vaccine that protects against all filoviruses, including multiple strains of Ebola and Marburg virus. The company is also developing a freeze-dried version of the vaccine that allows use without refrigerated storage.
Separately, the company is working on an HIV candidate vaccine with the University of Maryland-Baltimore’s Institute of Human Virology that also recently entered human trials.

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