by Dayo Laniyan
Canada has announced that they will be donating up to 1,000 does of an experimental Ebola vaccine to West Africa in order to help tackle the disease outbreak.
It has come after the World Health Organization (WHO) deemed it now ethical to use untested drugs on Ebola patients, and also after the US government sent the experimental drug ZMapp to Liberia in order to treat two African doctors that had been infected.
Canada have said that between 800-1000 doses of the vaccines that has only been tested on animals so far, will be given to the WHO for use in West Africa, however will be keeping a small portion both for research and in case it is needed for use in Canada.
However experts have warned that to create enough of the vaccine to have any real effect would take four to six months, news not helped by the announcement from the makers of ZMapp, Mapp Biopharmaceutical, “The available supply for ZMapp has been exhausted. We have complied with every request for ZMapp that had the necessary legal/regulatory authorisation.”
Currently there are a handful of drugs that have been tested to work well against Ebola on animals. The first is ZMapp, which is a cocktail of antibodies that attack the proteins on the surface of the virus. It has been requested by the Liberian government because of its questionable role in the recovery of two infected US aid workers.
Another is TKM-Ebola, the only experimental drug that has moved on to early safety testing in humans. It works by interrupting the genetic code of the virus and prevents it from producing its proteins that cause disease. It was trialled on healthy volunteers at the start of 2014 however further safety information was requested by the American medicines regulator.
As of now more than 1,000 people have been killed by the current outbreak, enough for the WHO to declare this to be a global health emergency.