The unprecedented morbidity and mortality from the 2013-2015 Ebola virus disease (EVD) epidemic in West Africa has challenged every aspect of our global ability to effectively detect, respond to, and control such a rapidly emerging infectious disease crisis.
In response to this urgent global health crisis, the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota and the Wellcome Trust have developed a draft road map for the expedited development, testing, manufacture, delivery, and financing of Ebola vaccines. The interim report is titled, "Fast-Track Development of Ebola Vaccines: Principles and Target Product Criteria."
An expert group convened by the two organizations has concluded that the development and delivery of safe, effective vaccines would make a huge contribution to containing Ebola in West Africa, as well as improving responses to future outbreaks and providing a model for vaccine development against other emerging infectious disease.
The panel of 26 international experts—called "Team B"—explains how the substantial scientific, financial, social, and logistical challenges to rapid Ebola vaccine development and deployment can be overcome through collaboration among governments, industry, and philanthropic bodies.
The report highlights the potential need for multiple Ebola vaccines with different characteristics, which might enable different vaccination strategies such as ring-vaccination to prevent an outbreak from spreading, and prophylactic vaccination of high-risk individuals such as healthcare workers. It sets out the qualities that a successful vaccine should have and a set of principles for trial design.
The road map also emphasizes the importance of community engagement.
Team B is co-chaired by Wellcome Trust Director Jeremy Farrar, MD, PhD, and CIDRAP Director Michael Osterholm, PhD, MPH. A full report will be published in the coming weeks, and the guidance will be a "living document" that evolves over time. The expert panel is called Team B in recognition of the principal role played by the World Health Organization and national governments in leading the international Ebola response.
Farrar said of the report, "The draft road map we publish today, agreed by a global group of experts, offers solutions to the great scientific, social, logistical and financial challenges of delivering an Ebola vaccine on this urgent timescale."