It has been announced that Johnson & Johnson has begun testing a new two-dose Ebola vaccination regimen in Uganda.
The two-dose vaccine, Ad26.ZEBOV and MVA-BN-Filo, is being tested as part of a two-year, 800-person trial, which is taking place in Uganda as authorities manage the possibility that the Ebola outbreak will spread into the country from the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Ad26.ZEBOV vaccine, which was acquired in the J&J takeover of Crucell, has now been designated for use in the protection against Ebola Zaire. Meanwhile, multivalent vaccine MVA-BN-Filo, which was developed by Bavarian Nordic, has been designated for use in the protection against Ebola and Marburg.
The trial has been organised based on the results of previous tests, which revealed that the process of giving the vaccine in a prime-boost regimen could deliver the desired results. This prompted J&J and Bavarian Nordic to form a global license and supply agreement, which allowed the current trials to take place.
Pontiano Kaleebu, MBBS, PhD, director of the Medical Research Council (United Kingdom) and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine Uganda Research Unit and lead investigator of the trial, said in a statement: "A vaccine, alongside strong community engagement, strengthened diagnosis and real-time sequencing, is key to controlling Ebola epidemics.
"Available vaccines have been used under study conditions as primary prevention or ring vaccination approaches, however currently there is no licensed Ebola vaccine for international use," he added. "In this trial, we hope to avail more information that will help us work towards having a licensed Ebola vaccine."