Ebola vaccine trials to be carried out in Uganda

Two drug trials will be carried out in Ugandan capital Kampala in hopes of finding a vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus, which in recent months has killed thousands of people in West Africa

Two drug trials will be carried out in Ugandan capital Kampala in hopes of finding a vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus, which in recent months has killed thousands of people in West Africa

KAMPALA – Two drug trials will be carried out in Ugandan capital Kampala in hopes of finding a vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus, which in recent months has killed thousands of people in West Africa.

"This study is evaluating two vaccines for Ebola," Dr. Hannah Kibuuka, a clinical investigator at the Walter Reed Project, told reporters on Friday.

"We want to test the safety and strength of these two vaccines among adults between 18 and 65 years of age," she said.

Code-named RV422, the study aims to establish whether the vaccines are safe for humans.

"They do not contain the Ebola virus; therefore, those who will be vaccinated with these vaccines cannot get Ebola," she said.

Kibuuka said that 90 participants would be involved in the study, which is being sponsored by the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease in collaboration with the U.S. military's HIV research program.

The Walter Reed Project is currently providing information to anyone interested in aiding research efforts.

"We have started this week to decide who is eligible to participate," Kibuuka said. "Within the next two weeks, we will start vaccinations."

It will be the second Ebola vaccine trial to be conducted.

Between 2009 and 2012, the Walter Reed Project conducted the first-ever Ebola vaccine trials in Africa, which involved 108 participants.

Kibuuka said she hoped to recruit 30 participants from the earlier trial to participate in the current study.

"This is important because we want to see whether these new vaccines will actually boost the immune response for those who participated in the earlier trial," she said.

In recent months, more than 20,000 people have contracted Ebola in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea – the three hardest-hit countries.

According to the World Health Organization, some 8,795 people have succumbed to the virus in the three West African states. Of these, 1,910 deaths were reported in Guinea alone.

Ebola, formerly known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, is a severe – often fatal – illness in humans.

The virus can be transmitted to people from wild animals, but can also spread through human-to-human transmission.

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