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The World Health Organization plans to begin Ebola vaccine testing in the next few weeks.

The initial vaccine tests will be available to volunteers in the United States, Mali, and England, with goals to launch vaccine trials in West Africa by January 2015.

According to CNN:

The goal is to launch vaccine trials in West Africa by January, said Dr. Marie Paule Kieny, WHO’s assistant director general for health systems and innovation.

This is the messy truth about Ebola Understanding Ebola protocols

It’s not clear when vaccines could be distributed to the masses. That won’t be determined until after the testing results come in.

“There is no vaccine that has no side effects at all,” Kieny said.

But she said it will be impossible to get sick with Ebola from the vaccines because they do not contain enough of the virus’ genetic material.

The initial vaccine tests will be available to volunteers in countries such as Mali, the United States and England, Kieny said.

“It will be open to the general public. It can be you, me,” she told reporters Tuesday.

When the testing reaches West Africa, candidates could include relatives of infected Ebola patients, Kieny said.

WHO will visit the three countries most affected by Ebola – Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia – to determine which treatment centers could participate in the testing of experimental drugs. There is much debate, though, whether to use placebos (aka Ebola carriers who are not given the drug) in testing.

According to CNN:

While some say placebos are necessary to gauge the effectiveness of drugs, others say it’s unethical to withhold treatment for a disease with a mortality rate of about 50%.

The vaccine news comes after the CDC updated Ebola guidelines on Monday.

CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden stressed the importance of more training and supervision and said that no skin should be exposed when workers are wearing personal protective equipment, or PPE.

“We’re increasing the margin of safety with a real consensus guideline that has three key changes. One, training, practicing — demonstrated hands-on experience so that the health care workers are comfortable donning and doffing PPE. Two, no skin exposure. Three, observation of every single step, putting on and taking off the PPE,” Frieden said.


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