2nd Deadliest Outbreak in History Highlights the Need for a Safe and Effective Vaccine
ATLANTA, GA, Dec. 12, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- via NEWMEDIAWIRE -- GeoVax Labs, Inc. (GOVX), a biotechnology company developing human vaccines, today commented on the ongoing Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
David Dodd, GeoVax President and CEO, stated, “The ongoing Ebola outbreak in DRC is now among the deadliest in history, second only to the 2014-16 outbreak in several African nations that infected 28,652 people and killed 11,325. As of December 8, 2018, there have been 446 confirmed cases of Ebola in the Congo with 235 deaths, which disproportionally affected women and young children. The scenario is likely to worsen, as the disease has spread to a major city of 1 million people (Butembo) with 25 confirmed cases so far.”
There is currently no licensed vaccine to protect people from the Ebola virus. An experimental vaccine with a limited supply is being used in a “ring vaccination” approach. This vaccine can protect after a single dose but has caused mild to moderate adverse effects that included headache, fatigue, and muscle pain in half of the vaccinated subjects. The experimental vaccine also has the logistical challenge of limited stability under conditions of normal refrigeration or room temperature storage.
Recently, GeoVax’s Ebola vaccine (GEO-EM01), has shown promise for a safer and more heat stable vaccine. GEO-EM01 consists of a replication incompetent vector, modified vaccinia Ankara (MVA) that has been engineered to express non-infectious Ebola virus-like particles. GEO-EM01 also generates a protective immune response after a single dose in non-human primates but has the advantages of added safety and the ability to be stored at normal refrigerated temperature.
The occurrence of two major Ebola outbreaks since 2014 highlights the need for routine vaccination in areas at risk for Ebola emergence. For travelers and health care workers from the developed world, a safer replication-incompetent vaccine with essentially no associated adverse effects would be highly desirable. Increased safety as well as added temperature stability are also desirable features for vaccines for the developing world. These concerns extend not only to the adequacy of a vaccine response to naturally occurring Ebola outbreaks, but also to the need for public protection from a biodefense perspective.
GeoVax is currently making every effort to advance its Ebola vaccine into human clinical trials.
GeoVax Labs, Inc., is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing human vaccines against infectious diseases using its MVA-Virus Like Particle (VLP) vaccine platform. GeoVax was the winner of the 2018 “Best Biotech” Vaccine Industry Excellence Awards, a finalist for the 2018 “Best Prophylactic Vaccine” Award for its Zika vaccine at the World Vaccine Congress, as well as a finalist for Pipelines of Promise at Buzz of Bio 2018. The Company’s development programs are focused on vaccines against HIV, Zika, hemorrhagic fever viruses (Ebola, Sudan, Marburg, Lassa) and malaria. GeoVax also is evaluating the use of its MVA-VLP platform in cancer immunotherapy, and for therapeutic use in chronic Hepatitis B infections. GeoVax’s vaccine platform supports in vivo production of non-infectious VLPs from the cells of the very person receiving the vaccine. The production of VLPs in the person being vaccinated mimics virus production in a natural infection, stimulating both the humoral and cellular arms of the immune system to recognize, prevent, and control the target infection. For more information, visit www.geovax.com.
GeoVax Labs, Inc.