Tens of thousands expected to get Ebola vaccines from January - WHO

Tue Oct 21, 2014 11:35am EDT
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* Clinical trials now under way to yield data on dosage

* Health workers should get GSK, NewLink vaccines in Jan

* Johnson & Johnson, Russia also have candidate vaccines

By Stephanie Nebehay

GENEVA, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Tens of thousands of people in West Africa are expected to begin getting experimental Ebola vaccines from January, but population-wide immunisation is still far off, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday.

Initial clinical trials of vaccines from GlaxoSmithKline and NewLink Genetics are already under way. Some 500 volunteers are due to take part in countries including the United States, Britain, Germany, Switzerland, Mali, Gabon and Kenya.

The tests will generate safety and immune-response data in December. The vaccines can then be rolled out early next year to groups including frontline healthcare workers, said Marie-Paule Kieny, the WHO assistant director-general for health systems and innovation.

"These data are absolutely crucial to allow decision-making on what dose level should go into efficacy testing in Africa," Kieny told a news briefing.

Determining the dosage will dictate the yield or overall amount of vaccine available for the large clinical trials in Africa, she said.   Continued...