4 Ebola Vaccines and Drugs the US Stores in Kitty to Combat Epidemic
Three years ago, the world was fighting with the deadly virus of Ebola without the armor of any highly efficient drug or vaccine.
The Ebola virus epidemic outbreak in 2014 in West Africa killed thousands of people in many countries due to the lack of proper treatment to control and kill the virus. World Health Organization (WHO) declared Ebola virus disease epidemic a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. The disease was reported in more than 28,600 people during 2014 to 2016, and more than 11,000 people died.
With the growing research and development, promising drugs and vaccines have demonstrated the potential to prevent the virus. The Ebola virus disease has been controlled over the years to much extent, but it is considered as a potential bioterrorism threat for the humankind.
The US government has planned to stock the efficient drugs and vaccines of Ebola to fend off any potential outbreak of Ebola virus epidemic in future. The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), under Department of Health and Human, US will purchase up to 1.13 million courses of Ebola virus vaccines. Two vaccines and two drugs will get the final touch under Project BioShield to put them in the kitty of Ebola virus disease outbreak prevention.
One is Merck’s single shot vaccine which protects people at high risk of Ebola exposure. The vaccine was found effective when people in Guinea, West Africa were vaccinated with it during testing. The vaccination helps to control the spread of the virus from person to person. BARDA will provide $39.2 million for final stage development and purchase of the vaccine.
Another one is Johnson & Johnson’s two-dose vaccine. It would be used to prevent illness in people who have not been exposed to Ebola but could be, such as health care workers and the general public. Its first shot protects from Ebola and second shot boosts the body’s immune response. BARDA will provide $44.7 million for final stage development and purchase of the vaccine.
“This marks a pivotal moment in U.S. and global preparedness for future public health emergencies from viral hemorrhagic fevers like Ebola,” said Rick Bright, BARDA Director.
Mapp Biopharmaceutical’s antibody drug, ZMapp™ which is under development for the treatment of Ebola virus disease will also receive up to $45.9 million from BARDA for its final stage development and purchase. ZMapp™ is a combination of three monoclonal antibodies which bind to specific proteins of the virus cells and deactivates the virus. It was used to treat people of the United States and West Africa during the epidemic in 2014.
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals’ antibody drug will receive $40.4 million for late-stage development and an initial purchase of REGN3470-3471-3479 from BARDA. It is a single therapy that contains three monoclonal antibodies. The drug has completed its initial clinical study and received Orphan Drug Designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The funding for the new development and purchases of the drugs and the vaccines will be through Project BioShield which supports late-stage development for final approval and stockpile purchases of drugs and vaccines.