WHO Assures Canadian Ebola Vaccine Trial Suspension ‘Not a Setback’

World Health Organization has mentioned in a formal statement issued on Thursday that the suspension of experimental Ebola vaccine trials in Switzerland, due to unexpected side-effects, is not a real setback in the fight against the deadly virus. An announcement by The Geneva University Hospital (HUG) on Thursday revealed its decision to have suspended trials of one of two experimental vaccines being tested on humans in several countries, after several volunteers experienced unexpected joint pains.

However, WHO assistant director general, Marie-Paule Kieny, stressed that the hospital’s decision to suspend the trials of the VSV-ZEBOV vaccine a week ahead of plan should not be considered a big deal. She alleged that “it’s not a setback,” since there is no licensed treatment or vaccine for Ebola. Quite noticeably, the WHO has endorsed rushing potential ones through trials in a bid to stem the epidemic, which has killed nearly 6,400 people mainly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The experimental vaccine being trialed in Geneva is manufactured by the Public Health Agency of Canada and licenced by US firm, NewLink Genetics. The trials started on November 10 and are now expected to resume next month. HUG explained to have made the decision after receiving reports of minor joint pains and feet by four out of the 59 volunteers taking part in the trial. The hospital said the pains started after 10-15 days and lasted for a few days. However, the hospital acknowledged that it was common after other kinds of vaccines and “this phenomenon is very well-studied and not of concern to specialists.”

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