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Clinical trials have begun for a new Ebola vaccine developed by the University of Oxford.
The jab has been designed to tackle the Zaire and Sudan types of Ebola, which together have caused nearly all Ebola outbreaks and deaths worldwide.
The University of Oxford has launched phase one of its trials, testing the vaccine in human volunteers.
Ebola vaccines exist for the Zaire species but Oxford researchers hope the new jab will have a wider reach.
Teresa Lambe, lead scientific investigator at the University of Oxford, said: “Sporadic Ebolavirus outbreaks still occur in affected countries, putting the lives of individuals, especially frontline health workers, at risk. We need more vaccines to tackle this devastating disease.”
There are four species of Ebola virus that have been known to cause disease in humans. Of these, Zaire is the most lethal, causing death in 70% to 90% of cases if left untreated.
The new vaccine developed by Oxford scientists is based on a weakened version of a common cold virus that has been genetically modified so that it is impossible for it to replicate in humans.
This method has already been used successfully in the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine.
Phase one of the trials will see 26 people aged 18 to 55 receive one dose of the ChAdOx1 biEBOV Ebola vaccine at the university. They will then be monitored over a six-month period, with results expected in the second quarter of 2022.