During the month of October we will be taking a look at some of the results of our Ebola-related research projects. Most of the 12 projects were launched in 2014-2015 when an unprecedented Ebola outbreak ravaged parts of western Africa. The epidemic killed thousands of people and terrified communities, and took two and a half years to be brought under control.
Since then, IMI researchers have been involved in testing the safety, efficacy and durability of two candidate vaccines that show the most promise in preventing infection. Both vaccines, rVSV∆G-ZEBOV-GP and the ‘prime boost’ vaccine regimen (Ad26.ZEBOV and MVA-BN-Filo) are currently undergoing clinical trials. Hopefully these will be completed in time to get the vaccines licenced for future outbreaks.
IMI-backed researchers were also tasked with coming up with new diagnostic tests for Ebola. Three rapid, safe and sensitive tests have been shown to be able to single out Ebola from other lookalike viruses, helping to slow down or stop the spread of the disease. One of the diagnostics projects went further; a follow-on project will be able to test for a number of other haemorrhagic fevers. Other projects focused on reducing the onerous conditions for vaccine storage and transport, preparing for large-scale manufacture of vaccines and even running community engagement campaigns for the success of clinical trials.
Check out our website newsroom each week for a new story.
How do you prepare for a pandemic? by Pierre Meulien, IMI Director