The Partnership for Research on Ebola Vaccination (PREVAC) recently launched a new project called PREVAC-UP, which will evaluate three Ebola vaccine regimens for five years after vaccination.
The study will assess several factors within these treatments: their long-term safety, the durability of immune responses to them, and the effect of other infections on the immune response to vaccination. Vaccines will be evaluated by integrative statistical analysis of the immune response.
“This program is expected to significantly impact Ebola prevention and control in adults and children in Africa,” Dr. Yazdan Yazdanpanah, PREVAC Principal Investigator, said. “The study will also strengthen the capacity for science relevant to the development and evaluation of new vaccines in sub-Saharan Africa.”
Such work has been emphasized for PREVAC with the onset of the two worst Ebola outbreaks in history in just the past decade. There is an ongoing outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which has killed 2,200 people and infected more than 3,300, and the West African outbreak of 2014-2016, which ended with 28,600 cases and 11,325 people who died, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The latter prompted drug trials which should see results from PREVAC later this year, focused on a World Health Organization (WHO) prequalified drug developed by Merck, Sharp & Dohme, Corp. and a two-dose vaccine regimen created by Janssen Vaccines & Prevention B.V. and Bavarian Nordic. Those studies tracked safety and immunogenicity over 12 months, using three different vaccination strategies built on the vaccines. In all, 2,802 participants were enrolled in the main phase.
PREVAC-UP is funded by the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trial Partnership, under the European Union, but is working together with host countries Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Mali. It has also received funding from Inserm, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and the College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences, University of Sierra Leone.