New developments as U.S officials announce an Ebola vaccine will soon be tested for safety in people. The news comes as the outbreak in Africa continues to expand.
An Ebola vaccine, made in labs at the National Institutes of Health, has already shown promise in animal studies. Now, human clinical trials are set to begin.
The NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases partnered with drug maker Glaxo-Smith-Kline.
About 220 healthy adults in the U.S., the UK, and Africa are expected to participate. The trials were supposed to begin later this year, but work was accelerated in response to the Ebola outbreak in Africa that's killed more than 1,500 people.
"It's only through careful research we're going to know whether it works," said Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, of the University of Pennsylvania. "How well it works, and what the side effects are."
If successful, the vaccine is ultimately meant for people at high risk of contracting Ebola, like health care workers and those living in areas most affected by this unprecedented outbreak.
Hamilton has an important link to Ebola research. A scientist at Rocky Mountain Laboratories helped develop a vaccine concept that's in the forefront of this international research. It involves a common virus -- vesicular stomatitis -- found in horses and cattle.
Dr. Heinz Feldmann worked on VSV when he was in Winnipeg, Manitoba. It's the same vaccine concept Feldmann and his research group study at RML for Ebola and other virusus. Research has shown it to be very effective as an Ebola vaccine in rodents.
Now, we've learned the NIH will work with the Department of Defense to conduct Phase 1 Safety Studies of VSV. Clinical trials are expected to start at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research.
In early August, Feldmann told us that VSV could work as a fast-acting, one-time shot, during an ongoing Ebola outbreak.
Rocky Mountain Laboratories is not directly involved in the clinical trial.
Feldmann splits much of his time between Hamilton and his work in West Africa. He is currently in Liberia.
The scientist told us in early August, he thinks it is time for human testing on a small group of volunteers.