Press release

Wellcome Trust comments on shipment of first doses of GSK/NIH Ebola vaccine to Liberia

Dr Jeremy Farrar, Director of the Wellcome Trust, which is funding a trial of this vaccine in the UK and Mali as well as parallel studies of other vaccines in Geneva, Gabon, Kenya and Guinea, said:

"This week we’ve heard encouraging news from West Africa, indicating that we may at last have reached a turning point in what has been the worst Ebola outbreak in history. Mali has been declared free from the disease and schools in Guinea reopened, restoring some sense of normality for those communities.

"But the disease continues to take a terrible toll elsewhere in the region, particularly in Sierra Leone. This is certainly not the time for the national and international efforts to be reduced - if anything, efforts need to be redoubled to bring the epidemic to a complete end. Which is why it’s so important and heartening that the first doses of a potential vaccine are now making their way to West Africa in preparation for large-scale trials. There is no doubt that we need vaccines and therapeutics for this epidemic and to try to prevent and respond to the inevitable future epidemics.

"The unprecedented speed at which the vaccine preparation has progressed would not have been possible without sheer determination and global partnership between national governments, funders, researchers and pharma companies, and agencies on the ground who have worked tirelessly to get this crisis under control."