US fast-tracking process toward human testing of Ebola vaccine
By Lauren Blanchard
AMES, Iowa – A biopharmaceutical company in Ames, Iowa has been given the go-ahead and funding from a branch of the U.S. Department of Defense to work toward human testing of an Ebola vaccine.
NewLink Genetics and their subsidiary, BioProtection Systems, were recently given a government contract from the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), for $1 million to research and speed up the process to begin human clinical testing of their existing Ebola vaccine. As of now, the vaccine has only been tested on animals, like rodents and monkeys, and scientists have seen positive results. However, before a vaccine can be tested on humans, there are many time-consuming precautionary steps that have to be taken. With the deadly Ebola outbreak in West Africa, these processes are speeding up.
“Times change and so do perceptions of risk. So at this point, although there’s still a lot of attention paid to ethical issues, everyone is acting as it hits their desk,” said Dr. Jay Ramsey, clinical and regulatory compliance officer for NewLink Genetics.
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