An experimental vaccine to prevent Ebola virus disease was well-tolerated and produced immune system responses in all 20 healthy adults who received it in a phase 1 clinical trial conducted by researchers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The candidate vaccine, which was co-developed by the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), was tested at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. The interim results are reported online in advance of print in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The candidate NIAID/GSK Ebola vaccine was developed collaboratively by scientists at the NIAID Vaccine Research Center (VRC) and at Okairos, a biotechnology company acquired by GSK. It contains segments of Ebola virus genetic material from two virus species, Sudan and Zaire. The Ebola virus genetic material is delivered by a carrier virus (chimpanzee-derived adenovirus 3 or cAd 3) that causes a common cold in chimpanzees but causes no illness in humans. The candidate vaccine does not contain Ebola virus and cannot cause Ebola virus disease.
The trial enrolled volunteers between the ages of 18 and 50. Ten volunteers received an intramuscular injection of vaccine at a lower dose and 10 received the same vaccine at a higher dose. At two weeks and four weeks following vaccination, the researchers tested the volunteers’ blood to determine if anti-Ebola antibodies were generated. All 20 volunteers developed such antibodies within four weeks of receiving the vaccine. Antibody levels were higher in those who received the higher dose vaccine.
There were no serious adverse effects observed in any of the volunteers, although two people who received the higher-dose vaccine did develop a briefly lasting fever within a day of vaccination. Learn more about Phase 1 clinical trials of the NIAID/GSK investigational Ebola vaccine.Read more