A University of Tokyo clinical investigation team will commence the nation’s first clinical trial centering on a vaccine for the Ebola virus. Professor Yoshihiro Kawaoka and colleagues from the Institute of Medical Science at the prestigious Japanese institution, developed the new vaccine. It is believed to have fewer side effects compared to those vaccines produced abroad, claims the institute. Professor Kawaoka and team will utilize an artificially produced detoxified virus to develop this new vaccine product.
A Horrific Situation
The Japanese researchers seek to prevent further horrific outbreaks in Africa—involving deadly hemorrhagic fever that is transferred via bodily fluids of one infected person to a healthy person.
An outbreak last summer—the world’s 10th—occurred in North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo where armed insurgencies were occurring. This made it even more difficult to care for patients. By June 2019, there were 2,025 confirmed and probable cases with 1,357 deaths. The disease had spread to Uganda by June where two patients died. An Ebola outbreak spread to Goma, home to two million people.
Ebola has the potential to be exploited for biomedical weaponization. In fact, it was studied by the Russians (under the Soviet Union) for just such purposes. It would be difficult to weaponize as it rapidly becomes ineffective in open air; nonetheless, the scientific advancements to protect those in at risk regions not to mention to stop the spread are of the upmost concern.
In total, over 10,000 people have died in West African in the Ebola epidemic between 2013 and 2016—already last year 2,200 have died last year alone in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The clinical trial will be led by professor Hiroshi Yotsuyanagi and team at the hospital affiliated with the Institute of Medical Science at University of Tokyo. The investigators will recruit 30 healthy adult men who will receive intramuscular injections of the experimental vaccine, reports the Japan Times. The participants will be monitored for fever as well as the development of antibodies—and monitored thereafter for six months to assess the safety of the experimental vaccine.
Two major American drug companies have developed Ebola vaccines and these vaccinations are underway in Africa.
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