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Canadian Ebola vaccine enters new trial phase

OTTAWA, Canada I October 18, 2016 I Today, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, together with the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, announced that the next phase of clinical trials for the Ebola vaccine (VSV-EBOV), originally developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada, will begin in fall 2016.

The next phase will involve testing the vaccine on volunteers seropositive for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. The study will be managed by the Canadian Immunization Research Network (CIRN), with trial sites in Ottawa, Montreal, Senegal and Burkina Faso. Principal investigator Dr. Cécile Tremblay (Centre de Recherche du Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montreal) and coordinating principal investigator Dr. Joanne Langley (Dalhousie University) will co-lead the Canada-Africa collaborative research team. The first Canadian vaccinations are anticipated for November 2016, with trials beginning in Africa next year.

The study will build on existing results demonstrating the vaccine's safety and effectiveness. This includes promising results from the 2014 Phase I trials in Canada, a Phase II trial on front-line health workers, and a Phase III ring-vaccination trial in Guinea during the Ebola outbreak. Initial results from the ring-vaccination trial in Guinea were originally published in The Lancet in July 2015, with final results expected later in fall 2016.

The goal of this new clinical trial is to test evidence on the vaccine's safety and effectiveness at building a protective immune response among HIV-positive people. This will enable more widespread future use of the vaccine, ultimately saving lives.

The Ebola vaccine trial continues to be facilitated and supported by Canada's International Development Research Centre, Global Affairs Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and the Public Health Agency of Canada. It is expected to strengthen established research partnerships with African institutions and clinicians, laying the foundation for future Canadian-African collaboration.

"Canada is a leader on the world scientific stage, and this vaccine is example of how we can translate that knowledge into a vaccine that will ultimately protect some of the world's poorest and most vulnerable from another Ebola outbreak, as well as Canadians abroad," said Minister Bibeau.

"It is particularly important to study the effectiveness of this Ebola vaccine in vulnerable populations, such as those living with HIV," said Dr. Cécile Tremblay, who led the development of the protocol for this study. "These populations can often be most at-risk during outbreaks, because of their compromised immune systems."

"This next phase of clinical trials is an important milestone in the development of the world's first proven, effective vaccine against the Ebola virus. Continuing work that began in 2000 at the Public Health Agency of Canada's National Microbiology Laboratory, this candidate Ebola vaccine is a testament to the wealth of health research expertise and leadership here in Canada," said Minister Philpott.

About the Canadian Immunization Research Network (CIRN)

The Canadian Immunization Research Network (CIRN) is a national, integrated and multidisciplinary research platform to undertake evaluative research to inform public health policy, and provide the capability for a response to new and emerging infections. The network is led by Dr. Scott Halperin at Dalhousie University and includes more than 100 researchers at 35 institutions across Canada.

About Canada's International Development Research Centre

Part of Canada's foreign affairs and development efforts, the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) invests in knowledge, innovation, and solutions to improve lives and livelihoods in the developing world. Bringing together the right partners around opportunities for impact, IDRC builds leaders for today and tomorrow and helps drive large-scale positive change.

About the Canadian Institutes of Health Research

At the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) we know that research has the power to change lives. As Canada's health research investment agency, we collaborate with partners and researchers to support the discoveries and innovations that improve our health and strengthen our health care system.

About the Public Health Agency of Canada

The Public Health Agency of Canada helps protect and improve the health and safety of all Canadians and contribute to strengthening public health capacities across Canada. VSV-EBOV is an experimental Ebola vaccine discovered by researchers at the Public Health Agency of Canada's National Microbiology Laboratory (NML).

About Global Affairs Canada

Global Affairs Canada manages Canada's diplomatic and consular relations, promotes the country's international trade and leads Canada's international development and humanitarian assistance.

SOURCE: International Development Research Centre

Published on Wednesday, 19 October 2016


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