Japan To Hold Clinical Trial Of Ebola Vaccination

Japan to hold clinical trial of Ebola vaccination

A team of university scientists in Japan says it will start the country's first clinical trial of a vaccine for the Ebola virus.

A group of researchers led by Professor Yoshihiro Kawaoka of the University of Tokyo's Institute of Medical Science told a news conference on Thursday that they will start the clinical trial this month.

They said the artificially produced vaccine has been detoxified and was found to be safe and effective in a trial on monkeys.

Thirty healthy adult men will receive the vaccine twice, to see if they can develop antibodies to the Ebola virus, without suffering major side effects.

Professor Kawaoka stressed the importance of developing an Ebola vaccine domestically and getting it ready for use. He said medical staff would need to be vaccinated as soon as the virus is found in Japan.

An outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has killed over 2,220 people since August last year. The World Health Organization has declared an international health emergency.

Efforts to develop Ebola vaccines are also underway outside Japan. In November, EU regulators approved a vaccine developed by a US pharmaceutical company. WHO officials are promoting the vaccine in countries at risk of the spread of the disease.