Ebola Vaccine Test Halted Due to Side Effects

The University of Geneva Hospital issued a statement on Thursday confirming the temporary halt of the clinical trial of the Ebola vaccine developed by Merck and NewLink. The trial was halted after four patients complained of joint pains.

The patients were all find and were monitored regularly by the medical team performing the study. The hospital said that the clinical trials will resume on January 5 on 15 volunteers. It will resume after tests to ensure that the symptoms of joint pains in both hands and feet were “benign and temporary.”

The clinical trials started last November 10 in Geneva. To date, fifty nine volunteers have been vaccinated in the human safety trials.

Ebola is considered the world’s worst outbreak that has killed over 6,000 people in West Africa this year. Scientists are competing to develop Ebola vaccines to put an end to this deadly virus.

Meanwhile, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Ebola vaccine was initiated on 120 volunteers. The safety data from the trial revealed a “satisfactory” result, according to the University of Lausanne Hospital.

In a statement issued by the university, the first results of the GSK vaccine trial conducted by the Lausanne hospital and whether it gives immunity against Ebola are expected by the end of December.

Professor Blaise Genton, leader of the GSK trial in Lausanne, said that the safety data looked satisfactory. The general symptoms might be slightly more frequent and no serious adverse effect has been observed.

On November 26, scientists reported another version of the GSK vaccine indicating no serious side effects. The trial produced an immune response to all 20 health volunteers who received the Ebola vaccine in the early-stage trial.

On December 2, the Geneva scientists reported that the first people vaccinated with Merck-NewLink vaccines had no serious side effects. However, a few had mild fever after the shot.

The Geneva team said that four patients had complained joint pains during the second week of the trial that had lasted a few days. Prior to the suspension of the clinical trial, the first phase of the clinical trial had been due to continue for another week.

The team had decided to allow time to understand the cause of the complaints. Suspending the trial is common and classic in all clinical trials as a precautionary measure.

The clinical trials of Merck-NewLink vaccine are also conducted in United States, Germany, Canada and Gabon. To date, these centers have not reported any symptoms of inflammation in their volunteers.

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