Four Ebola virus vaccines developed by Russian scientists are ready and being tested on primates.
“All the four vaccines are ready. Tests on primates have already begun,”
said Russian Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova on Tuesday.
Anna Popova, head of Russia’s health watchdog Rospotrebnadzor, said that the agency has began testing a vaccine for the Ebola virus.
Popova was cited as saying that successful testing of the vaccine will enable Russian virologists to conduct further testing on humans at a later date. The Russian watchdog is one of many organizations in a global race to produce an effective vaccine for the Ebola virus.
Two vaccines are being developed and tested by major US pharmaceutical companies that are showing positive results.
One was developed by NewLink Genetics working with NIH. It’s made using a “live” virus called vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) genetically engineered to carry a small, non-infectious piece of Ebola virus. By design, the vaccine causes a mild infection that activates the immune system and helps it recognize Ebola. This has been licensed to vaccine giant Merck for testing.
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of NIH, is working with vaccine maker GlaxoSmithKline to develop another vaccine, which uses a common cold virus called an adenovirus that normally infects chimpanzees. It doesn’t cause any symptoms in people. It’s genetically engineered with a small piece of Ebola virus and, in theory, should also prompt the immune system to recognize and attack Ebola.
Popova said that it doesn’t matter if other countries develop a successful vaccine first, Russia will still continue its work of creating an effective vaccine.
“If someone does it sooner, that’s good… but I believe it’s a matter of national security when we have our own protective measures,”