UPDATE 1-No serious side effects in Merck/Newlink Ebola vaccine test

Tue Dec 2, 2014 5:58am EST
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By Kate Kelland

LONDON Dec 2 (Reuters) - The first people vaccinated with an experimental Ebola shot being developed by Merck and NewLink have had no serious side effects so far, but a few experienced mild fever, Swiss researchers said on Tuesday.

The shot, one of several being fast-tracked through clinical trials in the hope they can be approved for use in the Ebola epidemic raging in West Africa, is undergoing initial human safety tests at the University Hospitals of Geneva.

"After his or her injection, each volunteer was kept under observation for 1.5 hours at the clinical trials unit," scientists at the Swiss hospital said in a statement.

"To date, no major side effects have been observed after the injections, which triggered the expected inflammatory responses. They (the inflammatory responses) have been weak to moderate, with limited cases of mild fever," it added.

Since 10 November, 34 volunteers have been vaccinated with the shot, known as VSV-ZEBOV Ebola vaccine, at the request of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Trials have also begun in the United States, Canada, Germany and Gabon, and similar trials should start soon in Kenya.

This is the first data from human testing of the Merck/Newlink shot. It follows positive news last week about a GlaxoSmithKline candidate Ebola vaccine, which caused no serious side effects and produced an immune response in 20 volunteers in early-stage trials.   Continued...