The first doses of the Ebola vaccine were on a commercial flight to West Africa and were expected to arrive on Friday, according to a spokesperson from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) one of the companies that has created the vaccine with the National Institutes of Health.
Another vaccine from Merck and NewLink will also be tested.
“Shipping the vaccine today is a major achievement and shows that we remain on track with the accelerated development of our candidate Ebola vaccine,” Dr. Moncef Slaoui, chairman of global vaccines at GSK said in a company release.
In December, the trial of the vaccine made by Merck and NewLink were stopped after some of the volunteers in the trial had “transient mild” joint pain. After investigating that side effect, scientists concluded it was not a big enough issue to stop the development of the vaccine. No similar side effects were noted in the GSK trial.
There are other Ebola vaccines being tested by companies in the United States and in Russia.
This first shipment will be used, along with a placebo in this first large-scale trial in the next few weeks in Liberia.
“We are expecting to start by the last week in January, but there are some details that need to be ironed out regarding the FDA,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at a press conference.