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Oxford scientists start human trials of Ebola vaccine


Promising vaccine candidate created using the same technology as the university’s Covid-19 jab

Scientists at the University of Oxford are starting clinical trials of an Ebola vaccine created using the same technology as the university’s Covid-19 vaccine.

Set to begin on 11 November, the phase one trial will assess the immune response and safety of the vaccine against the Zaire and Sudan species of the virus, which are believed to have caused the most deaths from Ebola during the 2014-16 outbreak.

“Sporadic Ebolavirus outbreaks still occur in affected countries, putting the lives of individuals—especially frontline health workers—at risk,” said Teresa Lambe, associate professor at the Jenner Institute and lead scientific investigator at the University of Oxford. “We need more vaccines to tackle this devastating disease.”

The ChAdOx1 biEBOV vaccine will be tested on 26 healthy participants between the ages of 18 and 55, who will then be monitored over a six-month period, with results expected in the second quarter of 2022.

Covid experience

The jab is based on the ChAdOx1 virus, a weakened version of a common cold virus that has been genetically modified so that it is impossible to replicate in humans. The same technology was successfully used in the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

“Experience with ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 (Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine) has shown the vaccine can be rapidly manufactured at high volume for low cost, with storage conditions amenable to use in the developing world,” said Paola Cicconi, the trial’s chief investigator.

“This study will provide valuable data on the safety and immunological aspects of a novel multivalent Ebolavirus ChAdOx1 vaccine.”

A further trial of the vaccine is expected by the end of 2021 in Tanzania.