The Ebola virus has killed about 5,000 people in Guinea and Sierra Leone since the outbreak began in February, a toll that has been climbing ever since.
But now, a new tool is helping to cut the epidemic in half.
The first Ebola vaccine has been tested in Sierra Leone and Guinea, which have seen a sharp drop in the number of cases.
The new vaccine was developed by the German pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca, which has been working on its own Ebola vaccine for several years.
It is the first vaccine from the company developed by a multinational, and it was developed to fight the Ebola virus, according to Reuters news agency.
It is not clear how well the vaccine works or whether it is as effective as Astra’s earlier vaccine.
But it is a step in the right direction, said John Goggin, an expert in vaccine development at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, who was not involved in the new study.
“It’s an excellent vaccine, but it’s not going to stop the pandemic,” he said.
AstraZeneca said it was able to get a trial underway in Sierra and Guinea because the company has been testing its own vaccine on humans. “
The good news is that we now have a vaccine from a global company that is actually making a vaccine in the US.”
AstraZeneca said it was able to get a trial underway in Sierra and Guinea because the company has been testing its own vaccine on humans.
But the vaccine has not been licensed for use in humans.
“This is a really significant step forward, because we are now getting the vaccine ready to be distributed in this country,” said David Schuster, AstraZavac’s chief scientific officer.
“We are also now seeing that the vaccine is working and it’s showing efficacy in Sierra, and we believe this will be a significant step in this fight against Ebola.”
Schuster said the vaccine was not as effective in Sierra as in Guinea, where there has been much more testing.
“We are not seeing a vaccine at this stage that is as good or as effective,” he told Reuters news service.
“But it’s still a very important step forward.”
He added that Astra is continuing to evaluate its vaccines in Guinea as well.
Schuster noted that Asta’s vaccine has a different mechanism of action than the vaccine developed by Astra.
“The mechanism of delivery has changed and so the dosage of the vaccine can be delivered by different routes,” he added.
The vaccine is not yet licensed in the United States and other countries, so the company is not expected to release its first vaccine for sale until after the Ebola pandemic ends.
“If we’re not successful in making a full-scale clinical trial in the U.S., the vaccine will not be available for sale,” Schuster said.
The trial in Sierra is being funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 project, a €1.5 billion ($1.8 billion) program that aims to bring vaccines to people in low- and middle-income countries.
Horizon has been using Astra to test its vaccine in Guinea.
Schusters vaccine was tested on people at a laboratory at the university of São Paulo in Brazil, where the first study was conducted in late September, with Astra scientists involved in administering the vaccine to patients at two clinics in Sierra.
“They’ve been able to deliver the vaccine in very small doses and we have been able, so far, to show that the efficacy of the drug has been demonstrated in a small number of patients,” Schusters said.
“That’s the first step in a whole series of clinical trials.”
The results were published in the journal PLOS ONE.