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New Ebola Vaccine Trial Starts in Baltimore

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Another new trial of an Ebola vaccine has started, this time in Baltimore. It’s part of a flurry of efforts to kick-start stalled Ebola vaccine trials in the hope of using some soon to fight the exploding epidemic in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

The University of Maryland school of medicine is running the trial, which uses the same GlaxoSmithKline vaccine that the university is helping to test in Mali. The vaccine, which uses a common cold virus genetically engineered with a tiny piece of Ebola virus, is also being tested in Britain and Switzerland.

So far, 20 people have been vaccinated in the latest trial. First results could be back within a month or two. “The study will provide important results about the safety of the different doses and their ability to stimulate immune responses,” the school said in a statement.

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 A volunteer gets vaccinated with an experimental Ebola vaccine at the University of Maryland. Tom Jemski / University of Maryland

“This is a key step in the accelerated Ebola vaccine testing process,” said Dr. Myron Levine, who’s helping lead the efforts. The vaccine was developed at the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health.

Ebola’s spread continues to worsen across Sierra Leone and Guinea, and it’s still raging in Liberia also. Worse, health officials fear an outbreak may be under way in Mali, with five out of six confirmed cases there fatal and hundreds of people exposed. So far, Ebola has infected more than 15,000 people and killed at least 5,000 of them.

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