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Bavarian Nordic speeds up development of Ebola Vaccine

 Members of the Ebola task force walk through the streets on August 23, 2014 in Dolo Town, Liberia.
Members of the Ebola task force walk through the streets on August 23, 2014 in Dolo Town, Liberia.
Photo by John Moore/Getty Images

Bavarian Nordic has just announced that it will accelerate its collaboration with the United States National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to develop its Ebola vaccine programs, and is now aiming to begin their first trial of a “promising” combination vaccine regimen in humans in 2015.

Bavarian Nordic has partnered with NIAID for several years to advance its technology to develop a combined vaccine against Ebola and Marburg viruses, both of which are high-priority biological agents. A recent study, conducted under NIAID's vaccine preclinical services program, demonstrated proof of concept for a prime-boost regimen of two vaccines based on Bavarian Nordic's MVA-BN technology and Crucell's (part of the Janssen Pharmaceutical companies of Johnson & Johnson) AdVac(R) technology respectively. Study results have shown complete protection against the highly virulent Ebola Congo species, which is responsible for the current outbreak in the West Africa nations of Liberia, Guinea, Sierre Leone, Nigeria and Senegal.

The Ebola virus belongs to a virus family called Filoviridae and can cause severe hemorrhagic fever in humans and nonhuman primates, with mortality rates ranging from 50%-90%.Although there have been no cases in the US (save for the two missionary healthcare workers brought back from Liberia and treated at Emory University Hospital in Altanta), the virus has been “highly prioritized by the Federal Government,: which has defined the virus as a "Category A" agent that poses a risk to national security.

"Given the current global health crisis affecting West Africa and beyond,there is a clear need for efficacious protection and treatment against highly lethal infections like Ebola. The World Health Organization has warned that the outbreak now constitutes an international health risk, so this joint effort between Bavarian Nordic, Crucell and NIH is an important example of government agencies and private entities collaborating to address potential global threats, stated Paul Chaplin, PhD, President and CEO of Bavarian Nordic. “In our contribution to the development of a potential new Ebola vaccine, we leverage our expertise in the development and manufacturing of smallpox vaccines,which we have supplied to the U.S. Government since 2010."