Skvortsova announced in January that two Russia ebola vaccines had been developed in Russia and tested by specialists from both Russia’s Health and Defense Ministry, adding that their efficiency exceeded foreign analogues.
Russia’s health minister said Monday that an Ebola vaccine developed by the country over the last 15 months had shown encouraging results and would undergo further testing in West Africa.
“Phases one and two of testing were managed in Russia with volunteers and showed that the vaccine was very effective,” health minister Veronika Skovortsova told reporters in Geneva.
Skovortsova said the vaccine GamEvac-Combi, developed at a government vaccine research institute, would now be put to additional tests in Guinea.
Russia’s medicine based on Ebola vaccine will be used in Guinea from this autumn
The West African countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have been hardest-hit by the worst-ever Ebola outbreak which has killed more than 11,300 people since December 2013.
The Russian minister made the comments ahead of a meeting Tuesday with the UN’s World Health Organization chief Margaret Chan.
The WHO is hoping to study the Russian findings before giving an opinion on the new vaccine.
WHO spokeswoman Fadela Chaib told AFP in an email that the UN agency was aware that “Russian regulatory authorities had approved an anti-Ebola vaccine.
“The WHO secretariat is actively hoping for the possibility to study the data,” regarding the performance of the vaccine, she added.
According to the Russian official, the preliminary testing showed limited side effects in isolated cases, including headaches and slight body temperature rises.
Russian officials at the briefing who led the testing said the sequential injections led to surge in antibody production among the trial subjects.
So far no approved vaccine or treatment for Ebola exists and the WHO has authorised the fast-track development of drugs.
Skepticism About The New Ebola Vaccine
However, some experts have expressed doubts concerning the new Russia ebola vaccine, especially because Putin did not divulge any detail about it, such as its name or how it worked.
Ira Longini, an infectious diseases expert in Florida and a scientist who helped develop the only Ebola vaccine to pass the highest stage of testing, said the claims for the new Ebola vaccine is “nonsensical.”
Longini was involved in a previous study involving the VSV-ZEBOV vaccine. The study, which was featured in the journal The Lancet, found that the VSV-ZEBOV vaccine is likely to be “highly effective” against the disease. It was tested on a large group of people; hence, their study reached the Phase 3 trial.
In contrast, Longini said that the early stage of the Russians’ vaccine testing indicated that it was impossible to discuss its effectiveness.
“This is a preliminary stage 1 study. Which is fine – it shows their product should go forward. It shows some promise,” said Longini. “But you can’t say anything about efficacy at this point.”
Longini said that without a Phase 3 efficacy trial, statements about the effectiveness of a vaccine cannot be confirmed yet.
“The best they could say is it’s just promising,” added Longini.