A new Phase Ib clinical trial of two experimental Ebola vaccines began today in Kampala, Uganda. The Makerere University Walter Reed Project (MUWRP),
in partnership with the U.S. Military HIV Research Program, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, is conducting the study using Chimpanzee Adenovirus type 3 vector
(ChAd3) vaccines, co-developed by the Vaccine Research Center (VRC), National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and GlaxoSmithKline. One vaccine encodes
for the Ebola Zaire strain glycoprotein (ChAd3-EBOZ) while the second vaccine encodes for Zaire and Sudan strain Ebola glycoproteins (ChAd3-EBO).
MUWRP conducted the first Ebola Vaccine trial in Africa in 2009-12, using an early-generation DNA vaccine candidate developed at the VRC.
The results were published online in the Dec. 2014 edition of The Lancet and those results, in addition to other studies, helped lead to a clinical evaluation of
a more potent cAd3 vaccine. The ChAd3 Ebola vaccine first entered clinical trials in September 2014 in the US with promising phase 1 results published by the VRC
in the New England Journal of Medicine in November 2014.
This Phase Ib clinical trial is sponsored by NIAID, and will enroll 90 participants aged 18-65 years from Kampala, Uganda. As part of this
new study, about 30 Ugandan volunteers from the 2009 DNA study will receive a boost, or additional injection, with the cAd3-EBO vaccine to explore a more long
lasting effect of vaccination.
For more than a century, the US military medical community has solved many significant international health problems, particularly in the
area of infectious diseases. This research expertise, along with a robust international clinical trials infrastructure, is being leveraged to help in the US
Government’s response to the recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
The Walter Reed Program-Nigeria, another MHRP site, will begin testing the Zaire strain ChAd3 Ebola vaccine in a larger Phase II study
that will take place at 10 sites in four West Africa countries later this year. The virus causing the current West African outbreak is closely related to
the Ebola Zaire strain.
The MHRP Department of Laboratory Diagnostics and Monitoring (DLDM) is providing crucial laboratory support for another novel Ebola
vaccine being tested at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) and at multiple sites in the US and Canada. In addition, DLDM’s Assistant Chief,
CDR Jennifer Malia, DrPH, US Public Health service, deployed to Liberia for more than a month to set up and run the laboratory at the Monrovia Medical Unit.
Several MHRP scientists— including MHRP Director COL Nelson Michael and LTC Julie Ake — have been consulted by the World Health
Organization to assist with the planning of upcoming Ebola vaccine studies in West Africa. They assisted work with local ethical and regulatory
authorities as they strived to expedite these research trials in response to the current West Africa Ebola outbreak.