Ugandan begins largest-ever Ebola vaccine trial


Uganda has commenced its largest-ever trial of a preventive Ebola vaccine, amid fears of a potential spread of the deadly virus from the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo.

Lead researcher of the vaccination project, Pontiano Kaleebu said the two-year trial would involve 800 people in Mbarara District in the southwest of the country.

The vaccine – Ad26.ZEBOV, MVA-BN-Filo – is manufactured by Belgium-based Janssen Pharmaceutica, and the researchers will seek to assess its safety and ability to provoke an immune response to fight the disease.

Participants will be picked from core health workers such as physicians, clinicians, nurses and pharmacists, and non-core personnel: cleaners, mortuary attendants and surveillance, ambulance and burial teams.

Uganda has been on high alert since two people, part of a family visiting from Congo, died of the disease. A third member of the family also died after returning back home.

The trial, to be carried out by both Ugandan and international researchers, is backed by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

The outbreak in Congo began a year ago. More than 1,800 people have died in the latest outbreak which has become the second-worst on record.


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