Drugmakers team up to speed Ebola vaccine

In response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, two of the world's largest drug companies plan to do a rare thing--they will work together to make sure vaccines can be ready for use next year.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in the U.K. and Johnson & Johnson (J&J) in the U.S. are both working on developing a vaccine, but have agreed to cooperate to help remove any supply bottlenecks. The European Union is expected to announce a commitment of 200 million euros ($250 million), which will go towards financing clinical trials of three experimental vaccines.

The first doses of GSK's Ebola vaccine are expected to be ready late this year, and the World Health Organization (WHO) hopes that tens of thousands of people in West Africa, including health care workers, can start receiving vaccines in January as part of large-scale clinical trials. J&J, meanwhile, is, through a $200 million commitment, accelerating its research and hopes to have 250,000 doses of its vaccine ready by May.

J&J's vaccine consists of two injections: one to prime the immune system and a second to boost the response. It uses a common cold virus, called an adenovirus, to carry its medication. The GSK vaccine, on the other hand, is in testing as a single shot.

While the safety and effectiveness of J&J’s and other experimental vaccines have yet to be proven, researchers find them to be promising since they’ve worked on macaque monkeys.

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Sourced from: Reuters, Drugmakers to join forces to make millions of Ebola vaccine doses