WHO Heralds Breakthrough On Ebola Vaccine: “Turning Point In History Of Health R&D” 31/07/2015 by Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch Leave a Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)The World Health Organization announced today that a vaccine preventing Ebola has proved efficacious in Ebola-stricken Guinea, hailing it as a “turning point in the history of health R&D.” According to a WHO press release, results from an interim analysis of the Guinea Phase III efficacy vaccine trial show that a vaccine developed by Merck, Sharp & Dohme (VSV-EBOV) “is highly effective against Ebola.” “This record-breaking work marks a turning point in the history of health R&D,” Assistant Director-General Marie-Paule Kieny, who leads the Ebola Research and Development effort at WHO, said in a release. “We now know that the urgency of saving lives can accelerate R&D. We will harness this positive experience to develop a global R&D preparedness framework so that if another major disease outbreak ever happens again, for any disease, the world can act quickly and efficiently to develop and use medical tools and prevent a large-scale tragedy.” The Guinea vaccination trial began on 23 March 2015. “To date, over 4,000 close contacts of almost 100 Ebola patients, including family members, neighbours, and co-workers, have voluntarily participated in the trial,” the release said. British Journal The Lancet published preliminary results today, here [pdf]. Kieny said in a virtual press briefing today that a “ring” vaccination method was adopted for the trial, in which all people who have come in contact with an infected person are vaccinated to stop the virus from spreading further. This method was used in the 1970s to eradicate smallpox, she said. The release stated that the trial is being implemented by the Guinean authorities, WHO, Médecins sans Frontières (MSF, Doctors without Borders) and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, with support from a broad partnership of international and national organisations. Kieny said during the briefing that the WHO is a sponsor of the trial, since there were no other candidates, although the WHO is not usually not a sponsor of trials. According to the WHO, VSV-EBOV was originally developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada. The vaccine was then licensed to NewLink Genetics, and on November 2014, Merck &Co and Newlink Genetics Corp. “entered into an exclusive worldwide licensing agreement wherein Merck assumed responsibility to research, develop, manufacture, and distribute the investigational vaccine. Financial support was provided by the Canadian and US Governments, among others.” The audio recording of the press briefing is available here. Separately, the United Nations Secretary General announced today that all UN Ebola response activities have been transitioned over to the WHO. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related Catherine Saez may be reached at email@example.com."WHO Heralds Breakthrough On Ebola Vaccine: “Turning Point In History Of Health R&D”" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.