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Archived - Fact Sheet – CIHR Clinical Trial on Canada's Ebola vaccine (VSV-EBOV)

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Through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), $300,000 has been provided for a clinical trial on Canada's Ebola vaccine. The vaccine, developed at PHAC's National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg, Manitoba, will be tested by the Canadian Immunization Research Network (CIRN) on a small number of volunteers in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

In this trial, the experimental vaccine will be tested on a small group of people to assess its safety, determine the appropriate dosage, and identify any side effects. It will include 40 healthy participants between the ages of 18 and 65. Each participant will be meticulously monitored during the trial period. The VSV-EBOV vaccine does not contain a live Ebola virus. The vaccine only contains a portion of the protein covering the virus that would help the immune system produce antibodies. There is no risk that volunteers could contract the Ebola virus through participation in the trials.

This vaccine trial is taking place concurrently with the trials in the United States in an effort to expedite Phase 1 trials to generate the necessary information required to move onto further clinical trials in larger populations. In prior testing, the vaccine showed promising results in multiple animal models. The Canadian trial will generate information about the results of the vaccine in older adults, as different age groups may have different outcomes to Ebola virus. The Canadian trial will also test lower doses of the vaccine, both to try and achieve maximal protection while reducing side effects, and to stretch the number of people that can be vaccinated with existing supplies of the vaccine. Trial results are expected in early 2015.

Information from the trials will be shared with the international community as part of the global response to the Ebola crisis.

Several Government of Canada departments and agencies, along with global partners, have also begun planning for further clinical trials in larger populations of healthy adults.

About CIRN

The Canadian Immunization Research Network (CIRN) was created in 2014 following a funding call by CIHR and PHAC for a research network examining a wide range of vaccine-preventable diseases. CIRN received $6.6 million in funding over 3 years from CIHR and PHAC. CIRN builds on the strengths of the PHAC/CIHR Influenza Research Network (PCIRN) established in 2009 to consolidate the existing expertise in vaccine evaluation; increase the capacity to rapidly test candidate vaccines; create and strengthen links and facilitate knowledge exchange amongst vaccine researchers and decision makers, and train the next generation of pandemic preparedness and influenza researchers.

About the Canadian Ebola Vaccine (VSV-EBOV)

VSV-EBOV is currently one of three experimental Ebola vaccines sufficiently developed at this point to be tested in humans. The vaccine has undergone very promising and extensive testing in multiple animal models. It was developed by researchers at the Public Health Agency of Canada's National Microbiology Laboratory (NML).

Vaccines have a proven track record to protect humans against deadly infectious diseases. Vaccination leads to the generation of antibodies and the development of immune cellular responses. The antibodies and immune responses attack the infectious agent leading to the neutralization and elimination of the infectious agent such as Ebola, when exposed. Current data indicates that when VSV-ZEBOV is administered, it induces an immune response that protects against infection by the Ebola virus.

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