Uganda's health ministry today announced that the country has received 1,200 doses of a candidate Sudan Ebola vaccine from the World Health Organization (WHO) Uganda office, which is slated for use in a clinical trial.
The WHO's African regional office said the doses arrived just 79 days after the outbreak was declared and that the clinical trial will be conducted by a team from the University of Makerere, with support from the health ministry and the WHO. Currently, there are no licensed vaccines or treatments for the Sudan Ebola strain.
The doses are from the Sabin Vaccine Institute (SVI), according to Reuters. The SVI vaccine is a modified chimpanzee adenovirus (ChAd3) vector vaccine. Health officials had earlier cleared plans to study three candidate Ebola Sudan vaccines. The others are from Merck and Oxford University.
In the middle of November, a WHO working group recommended that ring vaccine trials prioritize the VSV-EBOV vaccine candidate licensed by International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) candidate, owing to the safety and efficacy of the VSV-EBOV platform used for the Zaire Ebola vaccine, followed by the SVI vaccine, then the Oxford vaccine. IAVI licensed the vaccine from Merck, which donated doses it had already made, and is advancing the development of the Sudan VSV-EBOV vaccine.
A sharp decline in Uganda's Ebola cases presents an obstacle to ring vaccination trials. The last patient was discharged from treatment more than a week ago, and Uganda's 42-day countdown, covering two incubation periods, toward the end of the outbreak has begun.
(Editorial note: This news brief includes clarifications made on Dec 9 to more accurately describe IAVI's licensing and development of the Sudan Ebola VSV-EBOV vaccine.)