Liberia eyes regional trial of next phase of largest ever Ebola vaccines as study ends successfully

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Investigators on a study involving the trial of two Ebola vaccines in Liberia on Wednesday have disclosed they are now looking at the involvement of the all three worst affected countries in the final stage of the study.

Launched on February 1, 2015 and conducted by Liberia and the United States, the second phase of the Partnership for Research on Ebola Vaccines in Liberia (Prevail) ended in April, with 1,500 people volunteering, according to Dr. Stephen Kennedy, the Liberian co-Investigator on the study.
Phase three of the study of the vaccines trial will involve giving the vaccines to people who will get into deliberate contact with Ebola patients so that investigators can see whether the vaccines can trigger the immune systems of Now that its final stage of whether the vaccines can actually prevent people who come in contact with Ebola patients from catching the disease.
According to Dr. Kennedy at a news conference in Monrovia, consultations with Guinean and Sierra Leonean Ebola incidence managements have been ongoing, with a meeting scheduled for the end of May to finalize the two countries participation into the study.
Dr. Kennedy said Ebola had taught the region a good lesson and it was imperative that the governments of the two other worst affected countries cooperated with Liberia to conduct the final stage of the study, which he added was important to the future of the health of the region.
“It will be a shame if all efforts cannot be concerted to curb the future recurrence of this epidemic. We cannot go ahead with phase two of the trial without the concurrence of the ministries of health and political will of the governments of the other two countries,” Dr. Kennedy told newsmen.
He said as part of the study, vaccination trial posts would be set up in Guinea and Sierra and at the various border points with Liberia.
Initially, the PREVAIL study targeted 600 volunteers but was increased to 1,500 when only 16 percent of the previous target featured women. However, he said 549 women participated in the trial when it was increased to 1,500.   
Dr. Kennedy called on Liberians to celebrate the success of the historic trial after concerns by the international community over the possibility of the country conducting a standardized, clinically safe trial.
“There were significant concerns globally that because of the effect on the health system as the result of the civil war and also because of the compact impact of the Ebola Virus Disease that Liberia could not conduct one of the most rigorous, clinical studies designed—randomized controlled trial. Now the international community is very proud that we have successfully conducted the trial,” he said.
This study, by vaccinating 1,500 volunteers is the largest Ebola Virus Disease clinical trial that has been conducted globally. It is about time that the government of Liberia, the Ministry of Health, the incidence Management System and even the local press  to announce this glorious achievement,” he said, adding: “Take praises, pleasure and pat yourself on the back.
“I think the primary winners at this point are the people who volunteered to participate in this process—1,500 Liberians.”
He said standard groups such as the Data Safety Monitoring Group had consented that the trial met all clinical and safety rules and regulations. He said the standard group had also passed the study relative to boosting the immune systems of people who volunteered to take the vaccines.
Volunteers would be monitored an entire year following the day they took the vaccines, Dr. Kennedy disclosed. He said the research team was not only concern about any residual effect of the vaccines and also how it boosts people’s immune system, but also the duration of the immunity triggered by the vaccines.