At an Oct. 23 World Health Organization meeting, pharmaceutical companies developing Ebola vaccines committed to ramping up production capacity to make millions of doses available in 2015, with several hundred thousand ready before the end of the first half of the year, according to a news release on WHOs website.
Vaccines may have a major impact on further evolution of the epidemic, according to the release. All parties are working together to finalize the most rapid approach for developing and distributing vaccines, including direct engagement with affected communities, so that effective treatments and prevention methods are embraced and shared far and wide by the most effective ambassadors, the communities themselves.
Trials of vaccines have already begun in the U.S., U.K. and Mali, and are beginning in Gabon, Germany, Kenya and Switzerland to determine safety and dose level. As we accelerate in a matter of weeks a process that typically takes years, we are ensuring that safety remains the top priority, with production speed and capacity a close second, Marie-Paule Kieny, MD, WHO assistant director-general for health systems and innovation, said in the release.
GlaxoSmithKlines monthly production capacity for a purified bulk vaccine, cAd3-ZEBOV, developed in collaboration with the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was expected to rise from 24,000 doses to 230,000 by April 2015, while NewLinks bulk vaccine manufacturing capacity for a Canadian vaccine, rVSV-ZEBOV, was noted to vary, according to the dose selected, from 52,000 doses to 5.2 million doses anticipated for the first quarter of 2015, according to the release. The GSK vaccine is undergoing clinical trials in healthy volunteers in the U.K. and in Mali, and will enter clinical trials in Lausanne, Switzerland in the next few days. The Canadian vaccine was being tested on healthy volunteers in the U.S. About 800 vials of the vaccine, donated by the Canadian government, will be tested on volunteers at the University Hospital of Geneva and additional volunteers in Hamburg, Germany, Gabon and Kenya.
At the meeting, officials from Johnson & Johnson gave an update on the companys Ad-MVA prime boost vaccine concept, with three vaccine regimens being developed at its Ebola vaccine program in Denmark. Clinical trials were expected to begin in human volunteers in early 2015.
At the meeting, WHO also stated that several other Ebola vaccines are being developed.