Ebola vaccine delivered in record time to Sudan outbreak

Oxford’s Ebola vaccine candidate has been shipped to Uganda, just 80 days after WHO declared a Sudan ebolavirus outbreak, in what has been described as a “phenomenal feat”.

The vaccine has been manufactured by the Oxford Vaccine Group’s partner the Serum Institute of India and working in close partnership with the WHO.

The Oxford team led by Professor Teresa Lambe OBE, professor of Vaccinology and Immunology at the Oxford Vaccine Group presented a range of key data to the WHO as the outbreak began. It was announced on 17th November that the vaccine had been recommended for inclusion in a ring vaccination trial to combat a Sudan ebolavirus outbreak in Uganda. The WHO working in partnership with the Ugandan government and Ministry of Health enabled the ring vaccination trial as part of a multi-faceted effort to curb the outbreak and save lives.

Lambe and the Oxford team have been working on the vaccine for some time, including ongoing clinical trials in Oxford and Tanzania; manufacture scale-up was led by the Serum Institute and supported by professor Sandy Douglas of the Jenner Institute. This research was funded by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC). SII (Serum Institute of India), who also partnered with the University to manufacture the Covid vaccine, produced 40,000 doses for the trial in just a few short weeks.

Lambe explained: “This is a phenomenal feat by all involved, especially our partners Serum Institute. This exceptional partnership has demonstrated yet again the importance of academics working with large scale manufacturers to rapidly pivot and respond to outbreaks, and the importance of working with and having the full support of WHO. Importantly, the speed at which we responded, gives real hope to achieving the 100 day mission and tackle deadly diseases of global impact.”

A number of organisations, including government bodies have embarked upon an ambitious plan to dramatically reduce or even eliminate the future risk of pandemics and epidemics. Part of the plan is to compress the time taken to develop safe, effective, globally accessible vaccines against new threats to just 100 days. Achieving this ‘100 Days Mission’ would give the world a fighting chance of containing a future outbreak before it spreads to become a global pandemic.

Adar Poonawalla, CEO of Serum Institute of India, said: “To combat the widespread outbreak of the Sudan ebolavirus in Uganda, it is important to prioritize immunization. The 40,000 vaccine doses manufactured in record time is a remarkable milestone in our long-standing association with Oxford University. I would also like to thank the Government of India for their constant support in enabling us to help people worldwide through effective, and accessible health interventions.”

SHARE: