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Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Gov’t aware of MRC proposed Ebola vaccine trial but…

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Speaking in brief interview with The Standard at Health Ministry on Monday, Dr Sey enunciated: “Medical Research Council have written to us seeking for an approval to carry out the Ebola Vaccine trial in The Gambia but the information that of government granting the permission to conduct the trial was [prematurely] leaked to the international media.”

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The minister did not give further details.

It could recall that last week, The Standard newspaper along with many-respected leading British newspaper reported that the first human safety trials of a potential Ebola vaccine could start in September in healthy volunteers in the UK, and a few weeks later in The Gambia and Mali, funded by the MRC, the Wellcome Trust and the UK Department for International Development (DFID). The vaccine is being co-developed by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) and GlaxoSmithKline.

Commenting on Ebola Vaccine trial in Gambia, Professor Umberto D’Alessandro, who it is reported will be “a principal investigator of the trial” and Unit Director of MRC had said:  “Thanks to the long-term collaboration between the UK’s MRC and the Gambian government’s Ministry of Health, the unit has the proven capacity and expertise to carry out trials to the highest quality standards including trials for vaccines similar to this one. The proposed trial won’t benefit immediately those currently at risk but we hope that in a not too distant future we may be able to protect people against Ebola.”

In a more recent statement Professor D’Alessandro stressed that the trial will only take place after obtaining permission from The Gambia Government and the relevant scientific and ethical committees.

A £2.8 million grant to carry out the trial has been awarded by the Wellcome Trust, the MRC and the UK Department for International Development (DFID). The award was fast-tracked due to the increasing severity of the Ebola situation in West Africa.

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