The biotech company NewLink Genetics in Ames, Iowa is closing in on human trials for an Ebola vaccine.
“From the laboratory to moving these first human trials has moved faster than I’ve ever seen anything move before in my professional career,” said Charles Link, CEO of NewLink Genetics.
Link said they are just a few days away from human testing. During Phase 1 of testing, healthy volunteers will be given the vaccine. Researchers will test to see how safe the vaccine is and what dosage is necessary for an immune reaction.
“With a dangerous virus, you don’t ever use the dangerous virus. You basically use a little snippet of it,” said Link.
Link said that snippet is a surface protein you get from Ebola and assures us there is no Ebola is in the vaccine.
“If you get an immune reaction to the surface protein an then it sees the real Ebola, it will attack it,” said Link.
Once those tests are complete, the company will move into Phase 2 where tests focus on how effective and useful the vaccine is. Those tests will be done in West Africa.
Link said he’s hoping it’ll take less than a year, but there’s no real way of telling when the vaccine will be ready for distribution until test results start coming in.
“We want to shorten the process as much as humanely possible within the bounds of safety and the ethics that’s required to conduct these sorts of studies in healthy volunteers,” said Link.
The Phase 1 of the tests will be conducted at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease and the Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
Ames Company Close to Ebola Vaccine Trials