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Ebola vaccine trials get underway in Uganda

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ARE you aged 1-70 years and in good health, the Makerere University Walter Reed project (MUWRP) is looking for volunteers for the trial of an experimental vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus.


Recruitment of Ugandan volunteers for the trial is being done at the head offices of the Makerere University Walter Reed Project in Kampala. The vaccine does not contain any virus and cannot cause Ebola.


Speaking to New Vision on Wednesday, Dr. Hannah Kibuuka, the director of Makerere University Walter Reed Project said they have started screening candidates and providing information about the study to those who are willing to take part in the research.


“We put an advert in the papers looking for volunteers who can volunteer in the vaccine research, those who are interested should come to our offices in Nakasero,” she said.


She said the first phase of the trial will enable researchers to understand how safe and well-tolerated the vaccines are in healthy Ugandan adults.


Last year a total of 90 candidates were enlisted for the clinical trial that was intended to determine whether a new experimental vaccine could provoke immune response against Ebola.


The vaccine dubbed 'Chimp Adenovirus Type 3' was developed by scientists at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), a UK-based drugs manufacturer.


Each volunteer received an injection of the experimental drug.


Simultaneous trials of the chimp adenovirus type 3 vaccine commenced in September 2014 in Oxford and Bethesda, in addition to another trial in Mali.


The vaccine was designed to provoke an immune response against the Zaire and Sudan strains.


Ebola is a highly contagious with a high fatality rate and can be spread through direct physical contact with body fluids like saliva, blood, stool, vomits, urine and sweat from an infected person and soiled linen used by a patient.


It can also be spread through using skin piercing instruments that have been used by an infected person. Likewise, a person can get it by getting in touch with a dead body of a person who has died of the disease.


Ebola’s signs and symptoms include fever, general body weakness, muscle pain, headache, abdominal pain, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea, rash and bleeding through body openings. It also causes an onset of kidney and liver failure.


Currently, there is no known cure for Ebola.